Cybersecurity for wind energy systems integrated into smart grids
Wind energy systems integrated with smart grids are vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks. These days, wind turbines can communicate with the grid through the Internet. This means cybercriminals can use this connection to disrupt the power supply. Two most important components for cyber security for wind farms are the turbines themselves and the control system. Cybersecurity for wind turbines includes preventing unauthorized access to the turbine control system and maintaining reliable communications with the grid. The control systems are used for the onboard diagnostics, the automatic control of the turbine, and to integrate wind data with other energy systems such as solar power.
Cyber threats are increasing
The European wind-energy sector has been hit by a wave of hacks, with hundreds of turbines being taken offline in recent years. Around the world, hackers have been targeting the control systems of the turbines and taking them offline. Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands have all been hit by these attacks. The attacks come as the European Union is trying to increase its use of renewable energy to meet its climate change targets. Wind energy is a key part of this plan, and the sector has been growing rapidly in recent years. The hacks have put this growth at risk and have raised concerns about the security of the sector. The threats are constantly evolving and can have potentially severe consequences, such as loss of production and revenue, damage to assets and infrastructure, leakage of sensitive commercial information, reputational damage, regulatory non-compliance, fines, and HSE risk.
Nordex, a German wind turbine manufacturer, has been hit by a cyber-attack that has forced the company to shut down its IT systems. When the incident began, it was assumed that it would remain contained to IT infrastructure. Although Nordex restored the system, customers, employees, and other stakeholders might have been affected by the shutdown. The increasing use of green energy is likely to make it a more attractive target for cyber-attacks in the future. Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer, was forced to shut down the company’s IT systems last year after a cyber-attack. Safeguarding the safety of wind energy systems is a critical priority for the sector.
Security systems are getting better
In order to counteract these risks, most wind turbine manufacturers are now offering security products and services that allow users to monitor the performance of their turbines and identify potential security issues. This is a positive development that will help to ensure the safety of wind energy systems. GE Renewable’s Digital Wind Cyber Security is a state-of-the-art device that is designed to monitor and protect the wind turbine blades. This system can monitor the data received from the wind turbine blades and analyze it. The system can detect the slightest vibrations in the blade and identify the source of the vibrations. The system can detect and eliminate any problems with wind turbine blades, thus ensuring that they remain operational at all times. In addition to monitoring and protecting wind turbine blades, the system is also designed to monitor and protect wind turbine generators. The system does this by constantly monitoring data received from the turbines and analyzing it for any potential problems. By doing this, the system can ensure that the generators always remain operational. Siemens has a comprehensive security concept that utilizes defense in depth to protect against internal and external cyberattacks. This security concept is applied to all levels and all relevant functions of the wind turbine, from the operating level to the field level, and from access control to copy protection for PLC programs.
Radiflow is a world-leading provider of cybersecurity solutions for critical infrastructure and industrial systems. Radiflow’s solutions are designed to support all relevant OT protocols for accurate modeling and anomaly detection. Radiflow’s CIARA industrial risk assessment and management platform is an industrial cyber risk management platform that helps to mitigate potential cyber risks in critical infrastructure. The CIARA platform uses data from MITRE ATT&CK (drawing from millions of real-world observations, a globally accessible knowledge base of adversary tactics and techniques is available) and other resources to help it understand which threat actors and attack tactics are most relevant for testing. The platform also uses machine learning to help it understand how an attack could be launched, and what defenses are in place to stop them. The goal is to prioritize security controls and integrate them into the organization’s overall cyber strategy.
A sustainable future requires more frameworks and collaborations
The wind energy industry has grown significantly over the past decade and is projected to continue growing. As a result, cyber risks in the wind energy industry will likely increase in the future. WizardCyber is a UK cyber security company based in London that delivers cost-effective advanced cyber security solutions to SME organizations. The company provides a comprehensive cyber security assessment that includes an on-site visit and vulnerability assessment to identify current security vulnerabilities. A report is generated that highlights the vulnerabilities, provides remediation advice, and makes other recommendations and observations. They have crafted their risk assessment service to follow many of the cyber frameworks, such as NIS Directive (EU), NIST Cyber framework and CIS Controls. They also provide threat intelligence services to help organizations understand and respond to the threats they are facing.
Siemens’ Scalance S security modules protect against data espionage and manipulation, unauthorized access, and automated break-in attempts. It is developed in accordance with the Industrial Security Standard IEC 62443-4-1. The security modules are designed for easy use and provide protection in a flexible, reaction-free, and protocol-independent manner. This allows securing existing networks without the need to reconfigure network stations or change the network topology.
To use common international security standards, it is necessary to have a clear and shared understanding of the data. The Department of Energy has formed a national Wind Cybersecurity Consortium to improve cybersecurity in the wind energy industry. The Consortium, coordinated by NREL, convenes six leading wind industry organizations to improve the cybersecurity of the U.S. wind fleet. The consortium will identify use cases and develop a platform to improve intelligence on wind energy threats and address the need for focus on the potential risks and consequences of cyber intrusions on wind turbines and their systems and controls. Secure remote operation of geographically separated wind farms requires the need for universal definitions and data standards.