Employees of Austria’s utilities are receiving training in cybersecurity techniques this week through a new partnership between electricity industry trade body Oesterreichs Energie and the European Network for Cybersecurity (ENCS).  

The ‘Red Team, Blue Team’ training delivered by ENCS is designed to boost cyber skills and awareness for employees across utility departments.

The training setup features a simulated grid operator including physical devices such as a medium voltage circuit breaker, routers, protocol gateways and protection relays and is supplemented by a virtual 40-substation network and a SCADA network. During the three-day course, utility employees are able to both attack (Red Team) and defend (Blue Team) the network for learning purposes.

Oesterreichs Energie’s concern with cybersecurity stems from Austria’s advanced status within Europe in terms of rolling out smart meters. Austria’s government has set out regulations that call for at least 95 per cent of homes to be equipped with smart meters by the end of 2019, ahead of the overall European target of installing smart meters in 80 per cent of households by 2020.

For ENCS, the collaboration with Oesterreichs Energie follows similar partnerships with the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), the European Distribution System Operators’ Association for Smart Grids, Dutch smart EV charging infrastructure centre Elaadnl and others.

Michael John, ENCS Director of Operations, said Oesterreichs Energie “has shown real leadership for the Austrian electricity sector on cyber security and we’re very pleased to be part of that.

“To successfully protect our power grids, we need to share expertise and collaborate: across Europe, across companies and across teams.

“The power of Red Team/Blue Team is it gets people from different teams working together – IT professionals and engineers – to protect the grid in a joined-up way.”