AEMO Report: Cyber security preparedness in the NEM and WEM

3 min

A new AEMO report, published today, highlights the advancing cyber security threat facing the energy sector and the sector’s level of preparedness to respond to counter those threats.

This is a critical time for cyber security, both globally and domestically. Protecting the Australian electricity sector against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats is a matter of national importance that has economic, supply and defence considerations.

Awareness of, and accountability for, cyber threats is vital, the consequences of a successful cyber-attack can be significant and businesses both large and small are coming to the realisation that detailed, proactive measures need to be established and matured. The 2017 Finkel Review Report contained a cyber security recommendation (2.10) to help mitigate the growing threat with a requirement to develop an annual report of the energy sector cyber preparedness.  

In response to Dr Finkel’s recommendations and this evolving cyber threat landscape, AEMO has worked in collaboration with the Australian Cyber Security Centre and the Department of the Environment and Energy to release the 2018 Summary Report into the cyber security preparedness of the National and Wholesale Electricity Markets.

For more details on the report click here

The extensive collaboration with the energy sector in the development of the framework, the self-assessment process and the report has helped to clarify immediate priorities (such as areas of investment or focus) and facilitated the groundwork for a shared cyber security vision and target state for all stakeholders.

Next steps will involve development of a shared roadmap and program of activities (testing and exercises, shared threat intelligence forums and agreement on best practise/shared solutions to common issues seen by the industry) and enhancement of the AESCSF framework, as well as consideration of potential legislative or market changes to improve security capability.

“We, as the Energy Market Operator, have a responsibility to ensure the reliability of supply and security of the grids and markets. We hope that this report, and the approach and collaboration undertaken by ourselves and the market participants, will foster an uplift in cyber security understanding and accelerate this national and strategic issue into mainstream consideration,” said Joe Locandro, AEMO's Chief Digital and Technology Officer. 

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