Lessons from Munich: A NATO Workshop on Energy Infrastructure Protection

Many unexpected perks come with working in the Geographic Information System (GIS) space, the most recent has been the invitation to participate in a NATO workshop on Energy Infrastructure Protection. Logic Solutions Group and Indigo Beam are honored to have been part of an expert panel of more than 20 companies from across the globe that traveled to Munich to share our expertise in the energy infrastructure field.

The goal of the NATO workshop was to explore various scenarios in which information exchanges among interconnected energy infrastructures can be protected from cybersecurity compromises. Put simply, the goal was to stimulate dialogue around developing a research roadmap for energy security in the era of hybrid warfare.

Topics of conversation ranged in variety, including:

  • Risks and vulnerabilities to the energy infrastructure

  • Energy data modeling

  • Understanding the adversary

  • Mitigation/countermeasures 

Hybrid Threats and GIS

Discussions were led by experts from private corporations, government entities and educational institutions. The company of such prominent authorities on hybrid threats and malware vulnerabilities proved a unique environment to learn more about the potential threats to our energy infrastructure. It also afforded us the opportunity to share the value of applying GIS-related solutions to these very real scenarios.

Using GIS technology can be a catalyst for enhancing threat prioritization, tracking response and mitigation. Pinpointing the “where” can be the difference between neutralizing a threat and for example having the U.S. power grid taken down by an entity like the Xenotime group, the same hackers who took down Saudi Aramco in 2017.

 The Need to Stay Current

During our time in Munich we were surprised to learn that the most recent U.S. government Energy Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model, ONG-C2M2, was published in 2014 – a lifetime ago in technology years. Based on feedback from the workshop, sharing new ideas and hearing from industry experts regarding the battle of protecting our energy infrastructure from intrusion on a global scale was very timely.

In fact, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has already begun working on a current cybersecurity capability maturity model.  Logic and Indigo Beam hope the insights shared at the NATO workshop lead to the elevation of GIS as a key input to this model.

 Translating Military Energy Infrastructure to Civilian Application

In a global economy, energy infrastructure protection is paramount for both military and civilian purposes.  If you’d like to learn how GIS can be an integral piece of your Health, Safety, and Environment program, contact us.