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Protecting Smart Grids and Critical Infrastructure with Industrial Firewalls

Background

As we evolve into the era of 5G, the benefits 5G deployment are inevitably on the tops of everyone’s mind. But one often overlooked topic that should not be ignored as we look into this exciting future is the role of cybersecurity. This is especially true for critical infrastructures, such as electricity generation. With grid modernization picking up speed around the world, utility service providers need to also bear in mind the evolving cybersecurity threats that come with modernization, and many already are. However, a significant challenge during the modernization of cybersecurity capabilities is identifying and utilizing IT technologies that can work in harmony with operational technologies. Modernization and interconnection are crucial to having robust security without compromising their services, which typically rely on assets not designed with 5G and modern technologies in mind.

Requirements

Lanner joined forces with a European firm with expertise in operating technology (OT) edge computing to develop an industrial smart grid cybersecurity solution. The solution had several requirements, including IEC 61850-3 substation certification, which entails meeting standards relating to electrostatic discharge, fast transient (burst immunity), surge immunity, radiated RF susceptibility, and other criteria. What’s more, it had to have segment networks and isolate connectivity both to and between facilities and OT zones, Advanced LAN Bypass for uninterrupted network traffic, Trusted Platform Module, and whitelisting to lock down mission-critical endpoint assets.

Lanner Solutions

For this project, Lanner provided two of its substation automation edge controller, the LEC-6041 and LEC-3340. The LEC-3340 is a 3U rackmount industrial edge consolidation server powered by Intel® Xeon® E3-1505L V6, Core™ i3-7100E, or Core™ i5-7442EQ (formerly Kaby Lake-H) processors to offer outstanding performance. Designed for excellent robustness, the LEC-3340 is IEC-61850 and IEEE 1613 compliant. This industrial-grade edge consolidation server provides rich I/O functions, including four PCIe slots, four RJ45 GbE LAN ports, five USB 3.0 ports, two 2.5" swappable drive bays, a DP/DVI display port, and two isolated COM ports.

LEC-6041 is designed to protect communications for both IT and OT domains. The LEC-6041 series is powered by Intel Atom® x7-E3950 or x5-E3930 processor for low power consumption and high processing performance. As a rugged firewall that can be deployed in challenging environments, the LEC-6041 comes with IEC 61850-3 and IEEE 1613 certification and 1.5 KV magnetic isolation protections for LAN ports and 15KV ESD protection for I/O ports. The system can operate in a wide range of operating temperatures from -40°C to 70°C. All of the hardware is designed t ensure that the security gateway LEC-6041 will not experience downtime while operating in hazardous surroundings typical of OT environments.

Protecting Smart Grids and Critical Infrastructure with Industrial Firewalls was last modified: December 28th, 2020 by Jorge Peregrina
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