#CyberFLASH: Cybersecurity threat ‘keeps us up at night,’ says Hydro Ottawa CEO

hydro-commandAs the electricity grid becomes more and more connected to the internet, Hydro Ottawa says it’s investing heavily to protect the system from cyber attacks.

“It’s huge,” said Hydro Ottawa CEO Bryce Conrad of cybersecurity. “It keeps us up at night.”

Conrad described how someone sitting in a bedroom at a computer on the other side of the world can try to hack into a utility’s information systems and do damaging things — like take down a grid.

“There are lots of examples out there where this has come true.”

And Conrad says he doesn’t pretend it can’t happen in Ottawa.

“We’re a G7 capital, so we’re not just Hydro Ottawa, we’re the provider of electricity to a G7 capital. If you don’t have electricity in the morning, you’re not doing a whole lot,” he added.

Connecting customers while preventing attacks

Cybersecurity is detailed as a risk facing the utility in the five-year strategy document that Hydro Ottawa tabled earlier this week at an Ottawa city council meeting.

The strategy describes an industry in the midst of transformation in which electricity systems are converging with, and are increasingly dependent on, information technology.

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