Providers of security tech see opportunities in energy sector

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Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014

Chipmakers and providers of other infrastructure components for the energy sector are responding to reports that the U.S. power grid remains vulnerable to attack by launching new initiatives to help improve cybersecurity.

To hear cybersecurity companies tell it, the U.S. energy industry is a ticking time bomb.

Smart electric meters on the sides of houses can be entryways for cyberterrorists to shut off a city’s power grid. Remote-controlled valves in oil refineries can be manipulated to cause costly spills.

As reports of hacking perpetuate around the globe, security and technology firms are rushing to introduce high-tech products and services to protect power plants, pipelines and oil companies from cyberattack.

The emerging business could soon be worth billions of dollars a year as agencies including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission order companies to better protect the infrastructure.