Energy securityProtecting Critical Energy Infrastructure

Published 10 May 2021

Increasingly, both Israel and the U.S. face costly cyberattacks that can cause severe damage to critical energy infrastructure. A new consortium will develop, integrate, and test technologies, and demonstrate high value cyberattack mitigation technologies on the energy infrastructure, using data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

A consortium led by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Arizona State University (ASU), and which includes several other tech partners, including Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GT), will receive up to $6 million under a U.S.-Israel Energy Center research funding grant for energy infrastructure cybersecurity.

The consortium’s research project is entitled Comprehensive Cybersecurity Technology for Critical Power Infrastructure AI Based Centralized Defense and Edge Resilience.”

Increasingly, both Israel and the U.S. face costly cyberattacks that can cause severe damage to critical energy infrastructure. This consortium will develop, integrate, and test technologies, and demonstrate high value cyberattack mitigation technologies on the energy infrastructure, using data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Israel’s Ministry of Energy and the Israel Innovation Authority, the total value of the investment with cost-sharing could reach up to $12 million over three years. The Energy Center is managed by the BIRD Foundation (Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation).

This grant attests to the strong collaboration between BGU, ASU, and GT. The consortium brings these great partners together and allocates resources to develop new technology and insights vital to the U.S. and Israel,” says BGU Prof. Dan Blumberg, who played a pivotal role in the winning proposal. Prof. Blumberg is the Simon Family Chair in Remote Sensing, vice president for industrial and regional development as well as director of the University’s Homeland Security Institute.

BGU has collaborated with ASU on environmental research and with GT on cybersecurity. As alumnus of both BGU and ASU I am extra proud to win this important grant and expand these collaborations,” he says.

“We are so proud of Prof. Dan Blumberg and Prof. Yuval Elovici who have worked tirelessly to transform BGU and Beer-Sheva into the center of Israel’s cyber ecosystem,” says Doug Seserman, chief executive officer of Americans for Ben-Gurion University. “We congratulate them along with the winning BGU research team and partners who will leverage their remarkable cyber and artificial intelligence capabilities to secure critical energy infrastructure of both countries with the generous support from the BIRD Foundation.”

According to Dr. Andrew Light, assistant secretary for International Affairs (Acting) at the U.S. Department of Energy, “Cybersecurity for energy infrastructure is key to the success of our efforts to deploy new innovative technologies to combat the climate crisis, promote energy justice, and create new clean energy jobs. I am pleased that this international consortium between the U.S. and our friends in Israel will develop new tools to address the cybersecurity threats we will face as we invest in our people, our supply chains, and our capacity to meet our clean energy goals.”

“The continuing collaboration in the energy sector between the U.S. and Israel has engendered considerable interest and has the potential to bring about significant technological progress,” said Udi Adiri, director general at the Israel Ministry of Energy. “The Ministry of Energy is strongly involved in protecting the water and energy sector from cyber-attacks and believes that R&D investment is just as important.”

Dr. Ami Appelbaum, chairman, Israel Innovation Authority and chief scientist at the Ministry of Economy and Industry said, “In an age where technological innovations are multiplying exponentially, the risks of cyber-attacks also increase significantly, especially in critical facilities such as energy infrastructure.”