Eaton, UL teaming on cybersecurity testing for power management

Eaton is teaming with safety standards group UL on setting cybersecurity criteria for network-connected power management products and systems, the company announced Tuesday.

The program, currently in development on a limited basis, aligns Eaton’s testing methodologies and data generation with the UL Cybersecurity Assurance Program for UL standards 2900-1 and UL 2900-2-2. Eaton’s Pittsburgh cybersecurity research lab now can now test intelligence or embedded logic products against key aspects of the UL standards.

Verified products will be a key in the connected future, Max Wandera, director of Eaton’s Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, said in an emailed response to questions from POWERGRID International. IHS Markit forecasts that about 75 billion devices will be connected online in only seven years, he noted. 

“As utilities and other customers deploy smarter, connected devices, it’s important to be able to trust and verify that the technologies that they’re relying on are designed, built and tested to sound engineering practices,” Wandera said.

Through UL’s Cybersecurity Assurance Program, Eaton, UL and other organizations are working together to establish foundational requirements for testing of network-connected industrial control systems. Eaton says its Power Xpert Dashboard is the first power management product certified to the UL 2900-2-2 standard.

 “We view security as a continuous journey as product complexities, threat scenarios and technology evolve,” Wandera said.  “Our approach is designed to safeguard products across the entire product development lifecycle.”

Cybersecurity vulnerabilities are a constant worry within the utility industry, highlighted by successful attacks to Ukraine’s grid and in the U.S. The number of security incidents in the manufacturing sector is 40 percent higher than the average of other industries, according to IBM’s Threat Intelligence Index.

Wandrea sees third-party accreditation, such as UL, as key for the industry.

“Providing vigorous standards, testing and methodologies to reduce risk is critical, and UL’s cybersecurity standard provides a comprehensive guideline,” he said.

Eaton is a power management  and manufacturing company with 96,000 employees globally and customers in 175 nations. It also makes and sells power distribution and control systems, wiring devices and utility and grid solutions.

UL, previously known as Underwriters Laboratories and established 124 years ago, provides safety standard testing for companies in 104 nations.

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