Darktrace and Power Generation Company Drax Tackle Cyber Security for Energy Sector

Machine Learning Approach Works with SCADA

Houston, Texas
Tuesday January 27, 2015

Darktrace today announced from the 4th Cyber Security for Critical Assets Summit that Drax, a major European power generation company, is testing its new capability to detect unknown cyber security threats in Industrial Control Systems (ICS). Initially focused on the energy sector, this technology will be applicable to other Critical National Infrastructure such as water pipelines, oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, manufacturing plants, and transportation.

An innovator in its industry, Drax has been involved in cutting-edge research and development that has seen the application of new, machine-learning technology into its supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. For the first time, ICS data has been successfully extracted and modelled, using Darktrace’s proprietary software platform, in order to establish normal behaviors for these networked machines and detect deviations from this that may point to security holes or vulnerabilities.

According to the Executive Order of the United States, “the cyber threat to critical infrastructure continues to grow and represents one of the most serious national security challenges we must confront.” ICS, including SCADA and distributed control systems (DCS), are notoriously difficult to analyze and secure, due to their age and the type of protocols that they use. As these vital systems are increasingly connected to corporate networks and the Internet, they are necessarily exposed to a host of vulnerabilities that have reliability and safety implications.

“Darktrace studies the behavior of the control system itself, not the industrial process that it manages, providing increased confidence that the control system is functioning as intended,” said Dave Palmer, Director of Technology, Darktrace. “Its fundamental capability to detect unknown cyber threats within network traffic, using machine learning, really matters in the industrial world.”

This cyber security summit brings together major asset-owning companies from the oil and gas, chemical, utility and energy industries to share best practice, provide insight into today’s ever-evolving cyber security landscape, and create a common framework that is used to bridge the gap between corporate IT security and process control departments. Darktrace is a sponsor and its Executive Vice President of Cyber Intelligence, Jim Penrose, is delivering a presentation entitled, ‘Hackers Have Shown Great Restraint: New Approaches to Get Ahead of NCI Compromise Before it Becomes a Crisis.’

About Darktrace

Darktrace is one of the world’s fastest-growing cyber defense companies and the leader in Enterprise Immune System technology, a new category of cyber solutions based on pioneering Bayesian mathematics developed at the University of Cambridge. Darktrace addresses the challenge of insider threat and advanced cyber-attacks through its unique ability to detect previously unidentified threats in real time, as manifested in the emerging behaviours of the network, devices and individuals.

Some of the world’s largest organizations rely on Darktrace’s adaptive, self-learning platform to spot anomalous activity within the enterprise, in sectors including energy and utilities, financial services, telecommunications, retail and transportation. Darktrace was founded by world-class machine learning specialists and operational government intelligence experts. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with offices in London, Milan, New York, Paris, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

About Drax

Drax is principally a power generation business responsible for meeting typically 7–8% of the UK’s electricity demand. As the owner and operator of the largest power station in the UK, we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint. Upstream in the supply chain, the Company has a presence in the US focused on building and operating wood pellet plants for the self-supply of sustainable biomass. At the other end of the supply chain, Drax's retail arm, Haven Power, serves the electricity needs of a growing number of business customers. Alongside business partners, Alstom and BOC, we have formed Capture Power which will be responsible for the development, implementation and operation of the proposed White Rose Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Project.

About Cyber Security for Critical Assets Summit

The Cyber Security for Critical Assets Summit brings together major asset-owning companies from the oil and gas, chemical, utility and energy industries to share best practice, provide insight into today’s ever evolving cyber security landscape, and creating a common framework that is used to bridge the gap between corporate IT security and process control departments. Darktrace is a Presenting Sponsor and its Executive Vice President of Cyber Intelligence, Jim Penrose, is delivering a presentation entitled, ‘Hackers Have Shown Great Restraint: New Approaches to Get Ahead of NCI Compromise Before it Becomes a Crisis.’