Gemalto, the world leader in digital security, is bringing trust to the smart energy ecosystem at Africa Utility Week 2019. One of the company’s top executives is presenting on the cybersecurity systems and technology necessary to protect smart grids, demonstrating capabilities which underpin the delivery of ultra-convenient and reliable next-generation utilities.
Taking place on May 14 –16 at the CTICC in Cape Town, African Utility Week provides the largest gathering of energy and water professionals focused on all aspects of the provision of energy services to the African market. African Utility Week has expanded its focus this year by welcoming POWERGEN Africa, adding Generation while still concentrating on transmission and distribution, new technologies and water.
Sherry Zameer, Senior Vice President IoT – CISMEA, Gemalto, CISMEA, takes the stage on Thursday 16 May with his contribution ‘Dedicated cybersecurity solution to protect smart grids’.
In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), energy infrastructure is becoming increasingly complex, notes Zameer. “Energy infrastructure is becoming more open and that presents new security challenges which must be managed and mitigated,” he explains.
With new players and private citizens joining the ecosystem, deploying assets that tie into evolving grid infrastructures, additional opportunities for cyber-attacks are presented to ‘bad actors’. As a result, there is emerging urgency to, for example, secure Advanced Metering Infrastructure.
“Unprotected smart meters, implemented for long periods exceeding 10 years, can easily be hacked to alter consumption data, to gain access to sensitive data, or even to cause physical damage to the global grid,” Zameer points out.
These attacks can be devastating: blackouts across entire countries, access to power plants and personal data breaches. For the industries participating in the grid – generators, distributors and retailers – impacts can include loss of customers, reputation and revenue.
Drawing on Gemalto’s decades of experience in providing practical and robust security solutions in multiple areas (including many major government smart-grid initiatives around the globe), Zameer will discuss the challenges faced and the opportunities which exist for securing African infrastructure.
He says there exists the potential for leapfrogging the developed world: “Being relatively less hampered by legacy energy infrastructure, Africa has a great opportunity to adopt smart energy solutions from the get-go, as it has done in communications.”
Within this context, Zameer says the solutions Gemalto has developed are highly relevant; these solutions include tamper-resistant connectivity modules, unique digital identities for each connected energy asset, encryption technology and full remote management of the security lifecycle. These solutions are suitable for securing the power-generation and –distribution layer, the communication layer and the application layer.
Zameer is also participating in a panel discussion exploring effective strategies against cyber-theft.
This panel will explore the latest trends for utility leaders to build on their data for operational efficiencies. Zameer’s knowledge and experience will be invaluable in dissecting other issues such as the necessity for secure electronic systems interfacing with the grid (and innovations in asset security), as well as dealing with the protection of consumer privacy. He is also expected to provide valuable insight into strategies for distribution companies to upgrade security assets, again drawing on Gemalto’s extensive competence in this area.
To learn more about the Gemalto cyber-security solution for Utilities, please visit us at African Utility Week from May 14-16 in Cape Town.
Issued on Behalf of Gemalto by The Riverbed Agency