As cyber threats against critical infrastructure expand, NRECA will offer electric cooperatives and related industries the opportunity to learn the latest protective solutions and collaborate with experts at its first cybersecurity conference, Co-op Cyber Tech 2022.

“Electric cooperatives already work together to manage growing threats, promote continuous improvement and develop solutions that keep the grid secure, but as cybersecurity threats continue to evolve, so must the industry’s capability to defend against them,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “This first-ever cybersecurity conference by NRECA will help co-ops expand and strengthen their solid foundation.”

This in-person event takes place Nov. 8-9 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. Registration is open now.

“This is a great opportunity for cooperative cyber practitioners to build a robust community with both industry and NRECA and their teams of experts,” said NRECA Chief Scientist Emma Stewart, whose focus includes cybersecurity for operational networks, restoration and resilience.

Professionals in both information technology and operational technology are encouraged to attend, as are employees from government, industry and electric co-ops who would benefit from hands-on experience and networking sessions.

Key sessions will feature expert discussion on what’s happening in the cybersecurity field and the latest technologies and techniques to counter cyberattacks. This includes a discussion with members of the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center on the cyberthreat landscape across the industry. The center is operated by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. and constantly monitors the grid for cyber incidents.

Participants can join a workshop on NRECA’s Threat Analysis Center, the new OT sharing platform that will enable co-ops to receive a faster, more effective threat response. The TAC is both a tool and a community, enabling collaboration and assistance among cybersecurity experts and co-ops, said Meredith Miller, NRECA’s senior data scientist and TAC lead.

“TAC analysts will investigate threats coming into the platform to help reduce alert fatigue at utilities and provide actionable response information,” Miller said. “These person-to-person features are particularly important for the small rural co-op communities with few IT and cybersecurity staff.”

Other Co-op Cyber Tech 2022 sessions include:

• Ways to attract cybersecurity staff to your co-op.
• How to get support from co-op directors for cyber resources.
• A discussion and Q&A session with members of NRECA's cybersecurity member advisory group on the latest research and development and other cybersecurity issues.

Among the presenters will be Bryson Bort, founder of SCYTHE, a startup building a next-generation attack emulation platform, and GRIMM, a cybersecurity consultancy; Danielle Jablanski, an OT cybersecurity strategist at Nozomi Networks; Patrick Kelley, founder and CEO of Critical Path Security; and Scott Kaylor, senior manager–professional services at National Information Solutions Cooperative.