The Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Raytheon [RTN] multiple contracts worth a total of $9 million to research and develop technologies to help better protect U.S. power grids from cyber attacks, the company said Monday.
Awarded under DARPA’s Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization Systems program, the contracts aim to develop technologies that will better detect and respond to cyber attacks on the U.S. power grid infrastructure.
Raytheon BBN Technologies, a company subsidiary, is set to create technologies to enhance situational awareness by providing early warning of an impending attack and detecting adversary spoofing of power grid data collection and communications. These technologies would also maintain situational awareness in the direct aftermath of a cyber attack.
Raytheon will also examine methods to maintain secure emergency communications networks following an attack. The company will approach the problem by isolating affected organizations from the Internet and establishing a secure emergency network to coordinate power restoration without depending on external networks.
“During the last two decades, industrial control systems have evolved so that most are now connected to the Internet, making them vulnerable to cyber attack. A significant power disruption would have profound economic and human costs in the U.S, so our goals are to prevent attacks and to reduce the time required to restore power after an attack,” Jason Redi, vice president for Raytheon BBN Technologies’ networking and communications unit, said in a statement.