Enhancing_Energy_Systems_Cybersecurity_using_Blockchains

Period of Performance: 06/12/2017 - 03/11/2018

$225K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Real-time Innovations
232 East Java Drive Array
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The advent of cyberphysical devices within industrial systems offers the promise of dramatic advances in fossil fuel plant operation and management. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which facilitates building smart, distributed systems, offers a foundation to address many of these challenges by taking real-time data and using it to drive more intelligent, secure, and safer operations with more automated oversight. A critical key to the successful migration to IIoT, however, will be to design in security and cyber resilience as part of these next-generation architectures, rather than considering security in isolation and gluing it on as an afterthought. In this context, the DOE would like to understand how advanced blockchain technology can be applied to fossil fuel systems as part of a holistic cybersecurity solution. This research will focus on exploring the high-assurance incorporation of a shared, immutable ledger for recording and/or analyzing commands, control flow signaling, and exchanged data which would lay the foundation for real-time verifiable security assurance in these systems: a fundamental requirement for successful deployment of secure automated IIoT systems. In Phase I we will focus on the identification of key fossil fuel-focused industrial systems use cases. We will then conduct an evaluation of several existing blockchain technologies & their applicability to these use cases. We will also develop a representative industrial systems communications architecture that will provide a realistic and necessary context in which to evaluate the technology. The primary benefit of this effort is to provide an extensive evaluation of the utility of blockchains, including deployment into representative oil and gas technology, to help secure the next-generation of fossil fuel-based industrial systems. As we are treating this from a systems perspective, rather than considering blockchains in isolation, the results will be contextually relevant to the targeted customers. As other industrial systems share many of the same traits, this research will also be of value to a much broader audience. Ultimately, once this is transitioned to industry, the benefit will be to increase the trustworthiness of our systems.