WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) is partnering with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) to pilot enhancements to the energy sector’s information sharing capabilities and rapidly identify security threats to utilities across the nation.

In collaboration with E-ISAC, CESER will launch the CRISP Essence Integration Pilot, a joint operational technology (OT) pilot with the Cybersecurity Risk Information Sharing Program (CRISP). CRISP leverages DOE’s unique intelligence capabilities, expertise, and advanced threat detection technologies to collect, analyze, and distribute actionable threat information to the energy sector. The pilot will help identify potential cyber threats to utilities’ industrial control systems by capturing raw or refined OT data and analyzing it in conjunction with CRISP’s information technology (IT) data. Essence is an OT sensor platform with advanced deep packet inspection and unique grid physics determination capabilities that can detect industrial control system (ICS) anomalies and cyber threats.

“The American public depends on ICS to provide essential services. If these systems are at risk, the effects could be devastating,” said Nick Andersen, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, CESER. “As the energy sector undergoes rapid digital transformation and IT and OT systems converge, ICS are in a generational flux. The data gleaned from this pilot will help us close the information gap to rapidly detect and mitigate even the most dangerous ICS threats.”

The pilot is being launched in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the developers of the CRISP and Essence platform, respectively. Managed by E-ISAC since 2014, CRISP already covers roughly 75% of U.S. electricity customers. “This new pilot reflects DOE’s continued commitment to protect the nation’s electric grid and secure our power supply,” Andersen said.