U of I Researchers Developing Security Plans for the Nation’s Power Grid

April 09, 2009

One of the leading researchers of a plan for securing the nation's power grid says any long-range strategy will have to include a number of protections.

William Sanders heads the Information Trust Institute at the University of Illinois. It's part of the Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid, or TCIP, which includes work at three other universities. Sanders says recent news reports of attempted cyber attacks on the grid show it has real vulnerabilities, and need to be taken seriously. He says the consortium is responsible for rebuilding the grid's entire Information Technology infrastructure. And Sanders believes it's not a simple matter of blocking out one hacker's virus:

"Too much today, the problem is that people take band aid approaches," says Sanders. "Patch a vunerability here, patch a vulnerabllity there. And obviously we should do that. But the real solution is looking forward to a new architecture that ends this sort of cat and mouse game that we have going right now." The White House isn't providing any details on the recent 'intrusions' to the power grid. Sanders says any serious attempt will likely involve a number of things in sequence that include not only cyber attacks, but physical damage. He says a 'cascading' failure could also occur, which may involve human error as much as the other factors.

TCIP is a $7.5 million dollar project funded by the National Science Foundation... with support from the US Departments of Energy and Homeland Security.

Story source: AP

WILL Highlights

American Experience: Edison

8 pm Tuesday, Jan. 27, on WILL-TV: The life of the man remembered as the genius who created the modern world.