Nation-E, an Israeli energy security company, has been granted an Israeli patent for a security system that protects the electrical grid from “rogue” electric cars that could try to damage the grid. The system, patented as a “Real-Time System and Method for Tracking, Locating and Recharging Electric Vehicles in Transit,” provides a secure plug-in port for electric cars, ensuring that they draw the proper amount of energy and do not try to upload anything to the electrical grid. The patent is similar to others issued for Nation-E’s technology in Germany and China. The patent is pending in the United States.
Nation-E, founded in 2010 by Daniel Jammer, has developed a platform based on protecting the electricity grid. Jammer, an Israeli-German businessman, was named earlier this year as one of Israel’s top cyber-security figures by the Globes business daily newspaper.
Key to Nation-E’s platform is their Energy Cerebrum, a device that enhances energy security by reporting on developments in an energy network. If an attack on the grid appears to be taking place, the system can “island off” segments of the grid, isolating them from the rest of the grid. This ensures that attacks, such as malware designed to steal electricity assets from utilities and deliver them to hackers, can not spread beyond the infected point. Considering that the grid is connected across countries and even continents by communications systems — the same ones used to communicate over the Internet — an attack that spreads over the electricity network in the same way that computer malware attacks spread is a real possibility, said Jammer.
Electric cars plugged into a charger connected to the grid could be programmed to carry such malware, but the Nation-E platform can protect against this threat. Using Bank of Energy, Nation-E’s propriety software platform comprised of big-data analytics and energy cyber-security applications and methodologies, the system serves as an energy buffer protecting the grid in case of infringement by taking various preemptive actions, including energy islanding.
In an interview, Jammer said that Nation-E’s grid security system was installed in facilities as diverse as hospitals, utilities, corporate headquarters and data centers. “At many power plants, security is no better than it is on a PC,” Jammer said. “They weren’t thinking of cyber-terrorism when they designed the electrical grid. Only now are we beginning to understand the dangers, and what needs to be done to protect the grid.
“With the growing share of plug-in hybrid cars and electric cars and the roll out of smart metering and smart grids, new challenges need to be addressed,” said Jammer. “From an energy cyber-security perspective, an electric car is part of the Internet of Things, and so is equivalent to an end device in an IT network. The same challenges facing an IT network face the energy grid.”
Earlier this year, the company announced the launch of a joint project with the Netanya Municipality to equip the city’s electric grid with smart meters and optimize power consumption. By 2020, close to one million power points in the city will be linked to Nation-E’s system, which will provide enhanced security and save the city approximately 25 percent in energy consumption, said Jammer.
“The Netanya Municipality is the first in Israel to understand the importance of energy continuity to critical infrastructure and business,” said Jammer. “Our smart systems provide energy security and ensure that the lights will never go out for residents. Netanya will soon become a city without power outages.”
“Nation-E’s cutting-edge solutions tackle a major challenge that smart grid and critical infrastructure security are facing. One cannot underestimate the gravity of a successful attack on the energy grid and the need to eliminate any potential breaches,” said Rami Efrati, the former head of the civilian sector division of the Israel National Cyber Bureau in Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office.
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