Exceeding the Standard - NUARI executes large-scale nationwide distributed cybersecurity exercise.

Exceeding the Standard - NUARI executes large-scale nationwide distributed cybersecurity exercise.

The Department of Homeland Security has designated the energy sector as one of sixteen critical infrastructure sectors. The energy sector includes electricity, natural gas, and refined oil products. Electric cooperatives (co-ops) comprise an essential component of the U.S. electric grid and the energy sector. Electric cooperatives are a vital component of the electric utility ecosystem. They provide affordable electric power to residents and businesses in sparsely populated areas nationwide. A cyber incident that shuts down part or all of an electric co-op utility's operation may have serious, far-reaching, and life-threatening ramifications and, because of the ubiquitous requirement for electric power, will also impact each of the other critical infrastructure sectors reliant on that co-op. Therefore, it's crucial to conduct tabletop cybersecurity exercises to prepare for potential attacks.

Recently, NUARI facilitated a successful distributed tabletop cybersecurity exercise with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). The exercise included over 300 participants from across the NRECA in all functional areas of an electric co-op participating from multiple locations nationwide. NUARI's DECIDE® Platform was leveraged to facilitate the exercise, and once again, it proved to be the optimal platform for conducting distributed resiliency exercises. The exercise scenario was broad in scope, including cyber and physical injects. The scenario threads presented to the participants included physical intrusion, social engineering, cyber intrusion, reconnaissance, insider threat, zero day, phishing, malware, and ransomware.

Overall, the exercise was a resounding success. It allowed the participants to test their skills and knowledge in a realistic scenario and identify gaps in their cybersecurity posture. The exercise also highlighted the importance of effective communication and coordination between stakeholders in responding to cybersecurity incidents. The exercise demonstrated that a coordinated response is essential in mitigating the impact of cyberattacks.






Jakon Hays

Jakon Hays

Jakon is the Senior Marketing and Strategic Communications Specialist for Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI). He develops and executes digital and social media awareness initiatives promoting NUARI's mission of enabling a resilient society through rapid research, development, and education in cybersecurity, defense technologies, and information warfare.

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