The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded multiple contracts to Raytheon BBN Technologies to improve cybersecurity for the US power grid infrastructure.
As per the terms of the deal, the company will be responsible for the research and development of technologies, which will detect and respond to cyber attacks on the grid.
Raytheon BBN Technologies' networking and communications unit vice-president Jason Redi said: “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 US, so our goals are to prevent attacks and to reduce the time required to restore power after an attack."
The new technologies will be designed to warn of imminent attacks and detect unauthorised access to power grid data collection and communication. The company will also work on methods to secure emergency communication networks in the wake of an attack.
Raytheon BBN's dual approach will not only seek to isolate affected organisations from the Internet but also establish a secure emergency network to coordinate power restoration eliminating dependency on external networks.
The contracts total $9m and were awarded under DARPA's Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization Systems programme.