Inside Logistics

Waterloo researchers to create security system for energy supply chain

University has secured $407,000 in federal funding to develop a cyber security system to protect energy infrastructure


August 10, 2021
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The University of Waterloo has secured $407,000 in federal funding to develop a cyber security system to protect Canada’s critical energy infrastructure.

The hardware assurance system to be developed by the university and will be able to detect compromised parts and devices, and mitigating risks in the energy supply chain.

“Cyber security is a core area in the university’s research profile, ” said Mary Wells,University of Waterloo dean.

“We are delighted to employ our research excellence to advance the state of the art in a sector as important to the Canadian public as the energy sector. Our daily lives depend on the proper functioning of the power grid, and increasing its cyber posture is an important and worthwhile challenge.”

Bruce Power

Bruce Power will provide equipment, evaluate machine learning processes and evaluate the overall performance of the new system, while Palitronica Inc., a Canadian cyber security hardware and software company affiliated with the University of Waterloo, will provide hardware sensors to enable the technology development.

“With the global rise in cyber attacks, protecting Canada’s energy infrastructure has never been as important as it is today,” said Griffin Barnicutt, co-founder of Palitronica Inc.

“We are excited to work with Natural Resources Canada, the University of Waterloo and Bruce Power to demonstrate how our groundbreaking technology enables unprecedented hardware assurance and improves the cyber-resilience of Canada’s energy sector.”

The University of Waterloo and Bruce Power also contributed to the project, bringing the total investment to over $830,000.

“Bruce Power strongly supports this project to develop new hardware assurance technology to non-intrusively and non-destructively detect counterfeit parts or devices,” said Jim Coady, department manager, engineering, Bruce Power. “The project complements our current efforts to ensure security and integrity of the supply chain for digital components.”

Federal funding for this project is provided by Natural Resources Canada’s Cyber Security and Critical Energy Infrastructure Program, which received $2.42 million in Budget 2018 to improve cyber security and the resilience of domestic and cross-border energy infrastructure under Canada’s National Cyber Security Strategy.