BaxEnergy keeps on leading secure communication in critical infrastructures

Federico Bellio worked for 40 years as a Remote-Control Manager for an Italian multinational leader in manufacturing and distribution of energy. Today, the expert works abreast of BaxEnergy to optimize reliability, efficiency and IT security of the company’s cutting-edge energy management system.

Making power-grids secure

Due to the intermittent and time dependent nature of renewables, it is imperative to create a system that has several generators and storage systems in order to ensure reliable and continuous supply of energy. The way to achieve this is through an Energy Management System (EMS) that can coordinate all these generators with a storage system. Using commercial software, different terminals are set up as intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) and the operation of the EMS is emulated with proper message exchanges. Considering that these messages transmit sensitive information such as financial transactions or dispatch instructions, securing them against cyber-attacks is extremely important.

Yet, in the last years power grid risk has increased due to expanded connectivity and to outdated energy switches and controls, exposing critical infrastructures to malicious attacks.

Therefore, a collaboration with an expert came naturally to ensure the maximum protection of critical infrastructures such as power plants.

The collaboration

Federico Bellio will bring added value by working side-by-side with BaxEnergy’s teams of engineers and developers.

To date, Bellio is supporting BaxEnergy in the development of a SCADA system compliant with the latest international security standards through the development of an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) and an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS). These systems can be considered as a secondary defence mechanism, which enhances the cryptographic processes, by timely detecting or/and preventing potential security violations. For instance, if a cyberattack bypasses the essential encryption and authorisation mechanisms, then the IDPS systems can act as a secondary protection service, informing the system operator of the presence of the specific attack or enabling appropriate preventive countermeasures.

The expert will also provide his forty-year expertise in order to optimize Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems (SCADA), IT security procedures in the Operational Technology field, plants automation and optimization systems in the context of power, energy, voltage, level and flow control as well as to improve Remote-Control systems.

Federico Bellio will bring added value in R&D projects too, such as in the development of smart systems for secure and fast authentication of industrial systems’ users, and in the design of new IoT products related to charging infrastructure for electric mobility.

What will the benefits be?

The projects will take reliability and efficiency of IT security to the next level, optimizing the troubleshooting and monitoring of OT and IoT networks. This will boost productivity, cyber-resilience and the degree of industrial network protection, enhancing end-to-end security in network data exchange for critical infrastructures.