DARPA To Test Infrastructure Resilience

Increasing risks of cyber-attacks pose a challenge for US infrastructure security, such as the supply of electricity power, water and transportation. A joint exercise examines how to prepare for, and respond to, such a possible attack.

Perspecta Labs, played an integral role in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Liberty Eclipse Phase II exercise in collaboration with the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security to test grid recovery tools during a staged, multi-faceted cyberattack on a US power grid.

The realistic exercise actually replicated a cyberattack and monitored its recovery in real-time. Liberty Eclipse Phase II is the fourth and largest thus far in a series of exercises under DARPA’s Rapid Attack Detection Isolation and Characterisation Systems (RADICS) research program.

The RADICS objective was to develop technologies for detecting and responding to cyberattacks on critical US infrastructure, with an ultimate goal of enabling cyber and power engineers the ability to restore electrical service within seven days in the event of a major attack.

During the seven-day exercise, performers on the RADICS program were tasked with using performer-developed tools to provide comprehensive grid situational awareness, restore supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and network infrastructure, cleanse substations and defeat active adversaries to establish two diverse paths in order to re-energize, interconnect and synchronise two utility operators in a black start scenario.

 “Our experience with developing solutions to protect the power grid gave us unique qualifications to support DARPA during this exercise,” said Petros Mouchtaris, Ph.D., president of Perspecta Labs.

“As leaders in cybersecurity awareness, monitoring and assessment services, we were able to validate the success of our research and tools while assisting our customer, DARPA, in achieving this major program milestone.”

In the exercise, Perspecta Labs tested various technologies transitioning to commercial use under the company’s SecureSmart offering.

These included the SHERLOC cyber-weapon hunting system featuring a new grid state consistency analyser called Jolt that integrates ground truth feeder state from Advanced Meter Infrastructure as a telemetry source.

Also the MANTESSA cyber-physical early detection and situational awareness system, featuring novel machine intelligence techniques and statistical inference of out-of-band measurements, field reports and other data sources.

Perspecta Labs also supported BAE Systems on the set up of a Secure Emergency Network. The company’s Distributed Assured and Dynamic Configuration (DADC) tool was used to efficiently generate error-free configurations for that network.

As a result of the exercise, the Perspecta Labs team gained actionable insight from utilities, observers and participants to improve the usability, expand the capabilities and continue the transition of its SHERLOC and MANTESSA solutions.

As a leader in smart grid security and monitoring, the company has been a major contributor on the RADICS program, conducting research and delivering technologies in three of five technical areas for situational awareness, secure communications, and threat detection and characterisation.

PRNewswire

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