Applied Communication Sciences launches smart grid managed security service

Applied Communication Sciences (ACS) today announced the launch of its new SecureSmart Managed Security Service (MSS) for electric utility Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Distribution Automation (DA) Field Area Networks. First deployment is currently underway with a California utility.

ACS’s SecureSmart MSS is the industry’s first Field Area Network (FAN) intrusion detection and independent monitoring solution for AMI and DA networks. Offered as a managed service, ACS’s SecureSmart MSS enables utilities to quickly overlay a wireless intrusion detection solution on top of their existing infrastructure.

Using a probe-based architecture to intercept over-the-air FAN communications, the SecureSmart MSS provides utilities with 24×7 monitoring of FAN traffic and detection of anomalous network and node behavior.

Custom, model-based, deep packet inspection developed by ACS processes multiple traffic feeds to identify suspicious activity. ACS’s Cyber Threat Analysis team performs traffic analysis and correlation as part of the service to qualify the event and issue alerts as necessary.

“Our SecureSmart MSS answers the industry’s call for greater situational awareness and visibility into smart meter networks, which are fast becoming the largest networks within the utilities,” said Tony Bogovic, Applied Communication Sciences’ Group President, Advanced Consulting and Engineering. “SecureSmart MSS brings to market first-of-its-kind technology and innovations developed by ACS’s Applied Research group that enable utilities to detect early signs of attack on wireless FAN communications and help validate security controls.”

To enable greater visibility into FANs, ACS’s SecureSmart MSS provides utilities with a set of hosted monitoring and analysis tools. ACS’s SecureSmart FAN Packet Analyzer enables utilities to observe and dissect real-time traffic flowing in their FANs. ACS’s SecureSmart MeshView Network Visualization tool constructs the logical and GIS-based connectivity and routing maps of FAN subnets based on traffic observation.

Advanced filtering and time playback features enable utilities to quickly focus on specific data and watch a playback of activity to support security analysis, forensics, network operations, network engineering, and field diagnostics. An integrated traffic repository stores intercepted traffic for later recall and analysis. Utilities can monitor the operation and health of their service using the SecureSmart Probe Manager.

Independent monitoring of Smart Grid FANs by SecureSmart MSS additionally helps to mitigate supply chain threats by providing oversight of FAN activity and a means to validate conditions reported by vendor element management systems.

“Our aim is to help utilities secure all parts of their Smart Grid Infrastructure,” commented Bogovic. “We’ve extended our SecureSmart MSS capabilities to include monitoring and intrusion prevention for Synchrophasor and Inter-Control Center Communications Protocol networks and we will continue to support more protocols.”

About Applied Communication Sciences (ACS):

Applied Communication Sciences (formerly Telcordia Advanced Technology Solutions) delivers engineering and consulting solutions to enable utilities, government agencies, telecom carriers and commercial enterprises fully exploit and secure the future of information and communications technologies. Drawing on its Bell Lab, Bellcore and Telcordia heritage, Applied Communication Sciences excels at creating innovative solutions from primary research to solve the most difficult, complex problems. Applied Communication Sciences is a provider of security services to the energy, finance, entertainment, communications, transportation and government sectors.

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