Protection of critical infrastructure is a growing area of concern as attacks on the electrical grid and substations have proven recently. The attack on a key substation in California in 2013 demonstrated the vulnerability of our electric grid that could be brought down by a cascading series of failures caused by well-focused attacks.
Our electrical grid is probably the most important part of our infrastructure as other grids depend on it – think of just cyber, refrigeration and water that cannot work without electricity. If a few (not many) attacks were to occur on a very limited number of electrical substations, the recovery would not be measured in hours or days, but possibly weeks or months. It’s not difficult to imagine the disruption of mass proportions that could be wrought by such an event. This would not be an event of “inconvenience”, but of real damage, disease and death.
Protecting the electrical infrastructure will require a multi-faceted approach and there is likely no “silver bullet” solution. Developing and deploying systems with the ability to monitor and report activity will be an imperative. Without awareness of remote parts of the electrical grid, a terrorist will be able to conduct an attack with impunity.
As energy sources continue to expand and diversify, there will be a requirement to protect new pipelines and other critical infrastructure.
Since the infrastructure is so vast, affordable solutions must be developed or none will be deployed. These systems will need to be unattended, intelligent and connected. Most importantly it will need to be “integrated” and scaled at the right level. In much the same way we learned lessons from failed attempts to develop overly ambitious solutions for the southern border, solutions to protect the electrical grid need to be scale up on an iterative approach.
Innovative Algorithms founding Team has years of experience working in the US electric grid and understands the requirements and limitations of this vast and complex system. Development of Unattended Ground Sensors has the clear potential to provide an affordable and scalable solution for protecting critical infrastructure.