German power grid operators steel themselves for cyber attacks

Energy company innogy’s first training centre allows firms to learn how to identify threats as well as initiate suitable protective and defensive measures

Electricity grid operators in Germany are learning to defend their critical infrastructure from potential cyber attacks.

Energy company innogy has opened the first training centre, ‘CyberRange-e’, in Essen, Germany, where firms can learn to identify threats as well as initiate suitable protective and defensive measures.

The centre allows up to 12 network and IT specialists at a time to practice how to manage cyber attacks under real-life electricity grid conditions, including war-game methods, pitching the participants against real hackers.

Equipment in the training centre includes real control systems used in grid control facilities, several substations as well as the associated IT infrastructure.

Prof Andreas Pinkwart, Minister for Economic Affairs, Digitisation, Innovation and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia said: “Industry in North Rhine-Westphalia, in particular the energy industry with its highly sensitive infrastructure, is facing a unique challenge in terms of protecting data and safeguarding processes and procedures.

“The economic damage from a cyber attack arising from production outages, data theft or time-intensive and costly restoration of data can be considerable. It is important that industry, public institutions and the world of science can protect themselves from illegal access to their IT systems. Therefore, I am delighted that the new innogy CyberRange-e provides an opportunity to further sensitise employees to these issues and helps increase the resilience of our companies and public institutions against cyber attacks.”

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