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Critical energy infrastructure comprises the production, storage, refining, processing, and distribution of fossil fuels. Broadly speaking, the entire concept may even underpin all related infrastructure including essential services from Sandia’s health and human services to the integrity of financial networks and systems. Numerous instances of attacks on overland oil and gas pipelines by militants in places like Colombia, Iraq, and Nigeria amplify the vulnerability of overland energy networks to deliberate physical attacks because such systems traverse remote, mostly uninhabited areas and cover great distances which make monitoring difficult. In modern energy infrastructure, digitalization is necessary for smooth and efficient functioning. However, this heightens cyberspace threats to the infrastructure elements—especially since they have become more interoperable, remotely accessible, and less costly through the use of open software standards and protocols to achieve cost efficiency. Few operators possess the resources to track cybersecurity threats, and some rely only on automated services provided by their distributed control systems or commercial software vendors.
Sandia’s programs have long supported technologies and protocols that facilitate nonproliferation and secure control of nuclear materials. Sandia also supports programs that assist Russia to safely manage and control nuclear materials from dismantled Soviet-era weapons systems. Sandia is applying this well-developed capability and recognized leadership in critical infrastructure protection, cybersecurity, and energy systems solutions to enhance national security by helping energy supplier nations secure their critical energy infrastructure.
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Sandia is helping by: