Cybersecurity for critical infrastructure: are we moving the right way and what is needed to face the challenge?
European Parliament, Brussels, October 25, 2022 – MEP Pilar DEL CASTILLO, member of ITRE committee and rapporteur of Data Act has invited the European Commission, EE-ISAC (European Energy Information Sharing & Analysis Centre) and EUTC (European Utilities Telecom Council) to debate on what is needed to build a cyber secure and resilient European critical infrastructure.
While the European Union celebrates the 10th edition of the European Cyber Security Month, the uncertain geopolitical situation worries policy makers and utilities about the readiness of Europe to prevent and respond to cyber-attacks in order to secure the provision of energy, especially in the winter period.
The event comes right after the Summit at the Council of the European Union where policy makers are deciding about the strategy to achieve energy independence, focusing on electrification, gas diversification, and acceleration of penetration of renewables. Hence, critical infrastructures have more than ever become central, and as such, more exposed to cyber threats. European institutions and all players involved must join forces and develop a common strategy for a strong ecosystem, improving information and knowledge sharing among the main stakeholders, a critical success factor to prevent cyber-attacks to the European Energy industry.
Moderator Luca Selva (ianusGroup) opened the event, giving the floor to keynote speakers Aurelio Blanquet, Secretary General of EE-ISAC and Prof. Stephan Lechner, Director of the Euratom Safeguards at DG ENER, European Commission. Konstantinos Moulinos from ENISA (European Union Agency for Cybersecurity) provided an update on the Energy Threat Landscape, including the main cyber incidents which have interested the European energy industry in 2022. This set the scene for a high-level panel discussion involving the European Commission’s Directorate-Generals for Energy (DG ENER) and Connectivity (DG CONNECT), and representatives from utilities. The event was closed by Dr. Andreas Breuer, Chair of EUTC.
“The current energy market situation urging for an ambitious integration of clean technologies has unquestionably exposed the high dependency of the safely energy transit on the grid critical telecommunications and on cybersecurity”, said Aurelio Blanquet, Secretary General of EE-ISAC. “Information Sharing and close Cooperation are of utmost relevance for the acceleration of knowledge, the coordination of decisions and the effectiveness of complementary actions to avoid locking our energy system with cybersecurity threats”.Aurelio Blanquet, EE-ISAC
The European Commission has stressed in its interventions the importance of strengthening risk assessment activities, information sharing and compliance among the main actors. In this respect, EUTC and EE-ISAC take the opportunity to celebrate the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding among the 2 associations.
“It was an excellent collaborative event and the effort from telcos, energy utilities and cyber security experts in this forum was a superb example of how several sectors need to work together to defeat the ‘bad actors’ who exist in the cyberspace. The decarbonisation of the energy sector is essential to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and with this comes a huge increase in the amount of connectivity and attack surface for utility networks. It is essential that we collaborate to share best practice across the telecommunications and utility sectors”.Julian Stafford, EUTC
Participants coming from all over the world got the opportunity to raise questions to the speakers during the networking cocktail that has taken place after the event.
The European Energy – Information Sharing & Analysis Centre (EE-ISAC) is an industry-driven, information sharing network of trust. EE-ISAC enables the European utility industry to benefit from an open dialogue with industry partners and suppliers, share real-time data & analysis within small scale trust-circles, learn from experiences with grid security incidents & breaches, evaluate security solutions from both a technical & operational viewpoint.
EUTC is the European Utilities Telecom Council, which represents organisations involved in telecommunications for critical infrastructure. The not-for-profit association gathers European utilities form different European countries, and has developed programs which are led and designed by Europeans, and uniquely European in focus.
EE-ISAC: Alice Marinelli, firstname.lastname@example.org
EUTC: Sabrina Hastings Mela, email@example.com