The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded BAE Systems an $8.6 million contract to develop technology to facilitate quick restoration of power to the U.S. electric grid after a catastrophic failure caused by a cyber attack. As part of DARPA’s Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation, and Characterization Systems (RADICS) program, the technology will quickly isolate both enterprise IT and power infrastructure networks from all conduits of malicious attack, and will establish a Secure Emergency Network (SEN) among trusted organizations. SEN will enable the coordination necessary to restore power to the complex electric grid.
The RADICS technology is designed to operate in the absence of prior coordination among affected organizations and regardless of power availability, Internet connectivity, disparate IT networks and grid infrastructure technology, situational awareness and ongoing disruption efforts by adversaries.
Once activated, the technology detects and disconnects unauthorized internal and external users from local networks within minutes and creates a robust, hybrid network of data links secured by multiple layers of encryption and user authentication.
The systems rely on advances in network traffic control and analysis that will enable utilities to establish and maintain emergency communications. They also establish the SEN using advances in broadcast, satellite, and wireless technologies developed for agile communications in contested environments.