Since commercial use of the internet and digitization took off in the 1990s, the networking of systems has become increasingly important. Implementing the transition to renewable forms of energy requires the intelligent management of decentralized energy production, storage, and consumption in the smart grid of the future. This is leading to a growing use of information and communication technologies (ICT).
This networking will create new application possibilities in the areas of system control (grid management), data recording (smart metering, monitoring), and commercial services (e.g. efficiency analysis, remote maintenance, remote diagnostics).
However, the use of ICT in the area of energy supply also entails major security risks. Cyber attacks are a real and present danger. The term covers scenarios such as the sabotage of infrastructure (e.g. Stuxnet) and networks and the manipulation of control systems and data. In the worst case, this can cause supply structures to break down.
The challenges consist not only in protecting personal and confidential data, but above all in protecting critical infrastructure such as energy supply grids, telecommunication networks, and company networks (Industry 4.0 in Germany, Industrial Internet Consortium in US). In addition to further developing existing security mechanisms, it is the job of research to develop new integrated security concepts. Tailored measures that meet the security and application requirements are required.