Water, oil, and gas utilities are a vital part of our national infrastructure, making them attractive targets for bad actors hoping to shut down the power grid or deprive large populations of vital resources. Instead of stealing personally identifiable or financial information, these hackers try to find vulnerabilities in the system that they can exploit.
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued an alert regarding concerns about potential cyberattacks on water and nuclear utilities from hackers that might be able to gain access to utility networks and collect information about industrial control systems.
Encrypted waves provide the ideal way to help safeguard utilities against attacks on the network. With encrypted waves, utilities can protect vital information in transit while still maintaining the low latency, high-performance connectivity they need for their hypercritical infrastructure and applications.
The Challenge of Protecting the Network
While it may seem logical to protect the metered devices themselves against terrorists, utilities need to focus on securing the core network that connects hypercritical locations on the energy grid, such as generation, transmission, distribution, and corporate IT locations.
Defending the network is difficult because most forms of data encryption reduce the amount of available bandwidth by as much as 10% and slow the performance of the network. Imagine losing 10 Gigs of bandwidth out of a 100 Gig wave.
Slowing down the network or wasting bandwidth are not viable option for utilities. Low latency rates and high levels of availability are essential for ensuring that customers don’t experience power outages or the denial of vital resources such as water or heat.
If the network moves slowly, the utility may miss out on an alert that a piece of equipment needs maintenance or is malfunctioning. Failure to respond in time may lead to disruption of service.
Why Encrypted Wavelength is the Answer
Encrypted waves are an ideal defense for utilities because they protect the major connections between hypercritical locations and the corporate network. With encrypted waves, these connections can be protected without latency or loss of bandwidth that would affect performance.
Instead of encrypting data at Layer 2 or higher, encrypted waves protect data at Layer 1 while data is in flight. Layer 1 encryption ensures that data travels at optimum performance speed. Information can travel safely between connected devices in remote locations or between departments at corporate locations without being infiltrated or stolen.
Drawing a Line in the Sand
Utility companies can play an important role in protecting our national infrastructure by using encrypted waves to defend their networks against cyberterrorism. Encrypted waves benefit both national security and the welfare of the utility by protecting data without interfering with business performance.
For utilities in the Northeast, FirstLight is the ideal source for network security. Our encrypted wavelength offering provides protection at the transport layer. We offer 24/7, end-to-end encryption at Layer 1, reducing latency while delivering wire-speed encryption.
Learn more about the features of encrypted wavelength. Reach out to the experts at FirstLight.