The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) recently conducted an exercise on Plum Island, N.Y. to test grid recovery following a staged cyberattack on a U.S. power grid.
The Liberty Eclipse Phase II exercise is the fourth and largest simulated cyberattack that DARPA has conducted using its Rapid Attack Detection Isolation and Characterization Systems (RADICS) research program. RADICS was developed to detect and respond to cyberattacks on critical U.S. infrastructure, with the goal of restoring electrical service within seven days in the event of a major attack.
DARPA’s Liberty Eclipse Phase II exercise was done in collaboration with the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, and Perspecta Labs.
“We are proud to have played such a significant role in this critical exercise,” Mac Curtis, president and CEO of Perspecta, a defense and intelligence contractor, said. “At Perspecta, we are driven by a passion for innovation, which fueled our research lab, Perspecta Labs. It is through exercises like this that we are able to transform our research into real solutions to not only solve our customers’ most unique and complex challenges but keep our nation safe as well.”
In the seven-day exercise, the performers were tasked to restore supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and network infrastructure, cleanse substations, and defeat active in a black start scenario. Perspecta Labs tested the various technologies through its SecureSmart offering, including SHERLOC and MANTESSA. It also supported BAE Systems on the set up of a Secure Emergency Network. Further, Perspecta’s Distributed Assured and Dynamic Configuration (DADC) tool was used to generate configurations for that network. Perspecta has been a major contributor to the RADICS program, conducting research and delivering technologies for situational awareness, secure communications, and threat detection and characterization.
“Our experience with developing solutions to protect the power grid gave us unique qualifications to support DARPA during this exercise,” Petros Mouchtaris, president of Perspecta Labs, said. “As leaders in cybersecurity awareness, monitoring and assessment services, we were able to validate the success of our research and tools while assisting our customer, DARPA, in achieving this major program milestone.”