Updated governance model vital to tackle cyber security issues in power sector: NEPRA Chief

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Zubair Qureshi

Expressing concerns over the continuous occurrence of cyber security incidents in the national energy sector, Chairman National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) Tauseef H Farooqi Tuesday stressed the need to develop a comprehensive cyber security governance model to deal with cyber security incidents and to promote security.

He was addressing a session on “Cyber Security Challenge in Critical Infrastructure (Power Sector)” at the NEPRA Tower. The event was organized by TechAccess Pakistan jointly with its industrial partner RTA

The purpose of the event was to solicit awareness amongst national public and private sectors’ energy power entities against the global risks of cyber-attacks. A large number of power sector’s professionals, trade and business representatives and NEPRA members of the Authority and professionals attended the session.

Highlighting the importance of the session, the NEPRA Chairman said, “Cyberspace is the 21st century’s new warzone. Most of the cyber-attacks in 2021 and 2022 were focused on the energy sector. Cyber security is more challenging within the power sector due to dispersed geo-locations of generation plants and interdependence between OT and IT infrastructure.

He added that cyber security incidents are now “Eco-System” challenges because it is not just one electricity supply chain actor that is targeted but the weakest link in somewhere in country’s power system.” In his remarks, CTO Tariq Malik emphasized that the recent cyber-attacks by means of “viruses” or other known methods against primary energy operators are once again reminding us that we are now facing a very expensive “digital pandemic” which has become an “endemic” in security monitoring.

He explained that in fact, many events of cyber incidents are continuously emerging at global level on several OT Systems on different industrial technological plants with a fluctuation of increases and temporary apparent decreases in the number of cases identified.

He said that industries have to learn to live with it, putting in place and continuously updating the necessary treatments to thwart and “mitigate their effects” according to the “protocols” suggested by cyber security authorities and industrial entities, specialists in the cyber domain, daily involved to categorise insurgences’ cyber incidents and their effects. CEO of TechAccess Pakistan, Mehmood Jabbar, in his remarks said that their company took it as a mission to have a national under-control cyber security solution.

 

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