Sectoral cyber security centers to be set up to protect state-run energy companies


State-owned energy companies are elaborating a series of measures to protect themselves from cyber attacks. Sectoral cyber security centers are seen as one of the key steps.

Main reasons why Ukraine’s state-owned companies are suffering from cyber attacks include the lack of in-house expertise within the companies as well as inconsistent non-standardized approach to the system that counteracts cyber threats. There are no official communication channels between these companies as well as no sufficient financing to support the cyber security measures that are part of their information security. It was stated by the director of the IT department of “Energoatom” National Nuclear Energy Generating Company Oleksandr Lisovy at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

In the end of June Ukraine fell victim to the cyber attack caused by the Petya.A virus. “It was a kind of a penetration test for the IT system of Ukrainian companies. Ukrtransgaz passed it successfully,” said Viktor Chepurny, Head of the IT department at the Ukrtransgaz PJSC.

“Attacks on the energy center continue on a daily basis. We are currently working out a methodology and a toolkit so that such actions do not repeat in the future. Our main task is to establish sectoral cyber defense centers,” emphasized Oleksiy Gladkov, director of the department of information technologies, information and analytical support at the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine. Among the main functions of the sectoral cyber security system is identification of the cyber attack, data protection, response to the attack as well as complete restoration of the company work. “Main thing is to create a protected environment in the fuel and energy sector,” emphasized Gladkov.

Ukrenergo national energy company was subject to a large-scale attack that saw many working places affected, office and IT systems went off. “The company had never been affected to such an extent. We have a dense infrastructure, over 150 various work directions and offices that are connected and exchange information. It took decades to have this information exchange system established. This infrastructure was probably not developing dynamically enough responding to the development of the up-to-date tools that hackers are using more and more frequently,” said Vadym Goryushko, deputy director on IT and automation at the state-owned “Ukrenergo” national energy company. The company is currently working to make sure that it is able to quickly recover and be a reliable partner for its counteragents regardless of the impact scale.

Oleksandr Lisovy, director of the IT department at the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company “Energoatom”, said that the company’s cyber security state is being monitored on a regular basis. The company’s information systems are segmented in three parts: the one that manages nuclear power blocs, the ones for physical protection and general use. The systems are split into separate networks based on the functional, geographic and security criteria. “We are working to update or create from scratch the tools set to minimize the attacks,” emphasized Lisovy.