We are here to help. Contact us.
For many years, utilities have been deploying “smart” devices in their communications, transmission, and distribution networks and substations to quickly detect anomalies and failures and to automate responses to improve reliability and overall quality of service. This distributed intelligence requires secure and reliable Field Area Network (FAN) communications, which necessitates rethinking of existing utility operations technology security including new methods and tools to gain greater situational awareness to exploit opportunities.
Applied Communication Sciences has conducted in-depth network, software, and low-level hardware security analysis on FAN two-way communications and control systems that employ advanced technologies, such as spread spectrum, ad-hoc networking, public key infrastructure, and secure broadcast protocols. Our experts are currently assisting utilities in managing the cascading changes that Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Distribution Automation (DA) are creating in utilities’ operations, engineering, maintenance, theft deterrence, system monitoring, incident management, and service assurance functions. As utilities accelerate their deployment of Smart Grid technology our teams are already working on extracting full value from data analytics and process re-engineering in operations to help utilities integrate Smart Grid capabilities across a broad spectrum of business functions.
Our scientists and engineers have developed unique multi-layered FAN assessment methodologies and tools to address the multiple management, control and end-user planes of this problem space which requires a holistic approach to truly address these growing challenges.
We provide both innovative Smart Grid consulting services and solution development offers; including:
Our teams also provide innovative core technologies which we use to build custom security and operations solutions for utilities to provide improved situational awareness into FANs, particularly AMI FANs. This work includes:
Our holistic approach to Smart Grid security and information assurance assessments often incorporates potential vulnerabilities other reviews miss. Leveraging our broad cross-sector experience, our teams can adapt best practices from different industries to help secure mission-critical fiber, voice, IP, wireless and enterprise networks, and information technology and operations technology environments.
The challenges of security assessment and risk mitigation for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Distribution Automation (DA) Smart Grid systems differ from traditional IP-based computer networks in both scope and technique. Field Area Network (FAN) infrastructures consist of a large number of embedded devices, typically in the form of dual-band wireless nodes, signal repeaters, smart meters, SCADA Remote Terminal Units (RTUs), line sensors, and various monitors. Many of these intelligent endpoints cannot be physically protected and are thus susceptible to both physical and cyber attacks. The combination of proprietary protocols and the embedded nature of today’s FANs render traditional IT security assessment methods and tools unusable.
Applied Communication Sciences experts have developed a proven security assessment methodology which combines traditional penetration testing techniques for networks, computer systems, and applications with a detailed embedded hardware security and radio communications analysis. Our methodology focuses on four areas: Radio, Network, Software/Firmware, and Hardware.
FAN Protocol Analyzer
Visibility into FAN traffic flows and packet exchanges among nodes is critical to understanding the potential security vulnerabilities in addition to network behavior. We have designed and built the industry’s first FAN protocol analyzer which consists of a custom probe configured for multi-channel packet capture and decode on popular AMI systems. Our custom packet dissectors permit decomposition of captured traffic through several protocol layers. Our FAN Protocol Analyzer can be used as a security tool to monitor and inspect packet contents, such as security exchanges, as well as provide value as a monitor to assess network health and a diagnostic tool for field technicians and remote maintenance.
FAN Intrusion Detection System (IDS)
Designed as a scalable, probe-based system with policies and heuristics to detect signs of potential malicious traffic, our FAN IDS operates independent of FAN components and provides a security control for mitigation of supply chain cyber threats. It features a multi-channel operation with distributed intrusion detection intelligence and centralized capture storage when deployed in a FAN environment.
Our FAN protocol analyzer and intrusion detection capabilities will help augment a utility’s FAN security program and provide much needed visibility into FAN traffic flows. For more information, down load our FAN Protocol Analyzer and FAN Intrusion Detection System brochures or contact us at email@example.com for a demonstration of our tools.
FAN Visualization Tool
Today, utilities can typically detect connectivity issues when smart meter reading attempts or remote operations are unsuccessful. But, there are limited means available to diagnose the cause of the problem remotely and there is no way to gain an understanding of the topology of the FAN and evaluate it holistically. Applied Communication Sciences is at the forefront of developing tools to discover, analyze and display the topology of FANs, and monitor their performance, connectivity and latency characteristics.
Our ground breaking network visualization tool provides utilities with immediate situational awareness of their AMI FAN networks. It analyzes collected data and statistics from meters and access nodes and presents it in a variety of views. The network visualization tool is able to send alerts to operations staff, other OT systems, asset managers and planners which significantly enhances troubleshooting and analysis. Our experts are well equipped to advise utilities in the design, implementation, testing, and deployment of a network visualization tool customized to the utility’s AMI deployment that best serves the needs of its operations, engineering, and business units. For more information, down load our FAN Visualization Tool brochure or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Applied Communication Sciences’ IP Assure is an innovative and cost effective tool to efficiently verify IP device configurations throughout an IP network in a matter of hours. Without such an automated tool, it is virtually impossible to perform the manually intensive task of network error detection and remediation. IP Assure can systematically save utilities time and money as it helps secure their IP networks which now extend into all parts of their environments. IP Assure can also help prevent security breaches, network outages and audit failures. Thousands of parameters per device config file are extracted and analyzed by IP Assure in a matter of minutes with the results provided in standard and customized detailed reports for technicians and summaries for managers.
Smart Grid FAN Managed Services:
As a cost effective solution for distribution and energy generation utilities, Applied Communication Sciences provides outsourcing of security monitoring for AMI networks and other FAN environments.
Our teams will build, install, and operate an AMI and distribution automation remote field area network intrusion detection system as a custom managed service within your service area or facility’s network environment with a defined Service Level Agreement. We will build and install wireless signal monitoring probes of different hardware configurations that will operate in fixed and mobile environments. These probes will monitor over-the-air AMI and FAN device traffic and transport captured traffic and alerts to a data center located in our remote facilities. Our team operates an Intrusion Detection System, Capture Repository, Customer Portal and other applications needed to manage the system in our data center for your company. Our Intrusion Detection System applies a series of defined rules and behaviors to the incoming traffic streams and raise alerts when conditions you define are satisfied. Alerts are logged and trigger a response designed to meet your operations needs. All captured traffic is stored in a Capture Repository and provided to you via a portal to view the traffic traces, IDS alert logs, and system health and operational status.
Our managed service offering delivers a full range of daily operations, including monitoring system health; sorting, processing, responding, and investigating alerts; examining packet captures associated with alerts; scanning packet captures for unidentified traffic; managing the customer portal and capture repository; and responding to utility requests. We prepare reports summarizing the system operation, alerts, incidents, and statistics. Our team would be pleased to discuss your specific FAN managed services needs with you. Please contact us at email@example.com.
Applied Communication Sciences has over twenty five years of experience planning, designing and protecting critical infrastructure and large, complex networks. Drawing on our Bell Labs and Telcordia heritage, we are regarded as the chief architect of the U.S. telecommunications systems. As a leading global provider of network and operations engineering and security services, fixed, mobile, and broadband communications software, and cutting-edge research we serve a broad spectrum of communications-intensive markets. Working with a range of clients in energy, communications, government, finance, automotive, and entertainment, we bring unparalleled perspectives to current and future network security threats and best operations practices for the utility sector.
Applied Communication Sciences supported Telcordia’s preeminent role in architecting our nation’s communications infrastructure as a member and trusted advisor to the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). The NSTAC provides technical and policy advice to assist the U. S. President and other stakeholders who are responsible for our nation’s critical national security and emergency preparedness services.
As a pioneer in Smart Grid cyber security and trusted technical advisor to leading utilities, Applied Communication Sciences utility experts have conducted in-depth network, software, and low-level hardware security analysis on FAN two-way communications and control systems that employ advanced technologies, such as spread spectrum, ad-hoc networking, public key infrastructure, and secure broadcast protocols. As utilities accelerate deployment of Smart Grid technology, we are already working on extracting additional value from data analytics and process re-engineering in operations to help utilities integrate Smart Grid capabilities across their business functions.
For more information:Email Applied Communication Sciences
Applied Communication Sciences and design logo is a registered trademark of TT Government Solutions, Inc.