UNC Charlotte’s EPIC and Waverley Labs Partner on Cybersecurity


University partnership defends energy industry from cyber attacks

Researchers from EPIC’s Duke Energy Smart Grid Laboratory working with Waverley Labs conducted a systematic analysis of risks and threats to power transmission systems to identify critical points of failure.

The collaboration has resulted in an innovative risk management solution focused on relationships between cyber attacks and the electrical and physical infrastructures associated with the power grid.

"Concerns regarding grid resilience are increasing as computers, communications networks and electric sensors continue to merge," noted Madhav Manjrekar, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Lee College of Engineering and EPIC associate. "EPIC, in partnership with the Waverley Labs, is focused on advancing digital risk management for the energy industry to help identify critical points of failure and recommending risk mitigation initiatives before they become targets for attack."

Waverley’s risk-based approach supports the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cyber Security Framework and aims at building digital resilience. This new model delivers key information that enables energy companies to identify and prioritize which risks need to be mitigated based on possible consequences, ranging from business interruptions to loss of human lives. Results are prioritized and quantified in an easy to interpret "visual score-card." The model is currently under evaluation for wider use within the energy industry.

"The nation’s electric power grids are arguably the most important assets to protect from attacks," said Juanita Koilpillai, founder of Virginia-based Waverley Labs. "Only through understanding the relationships between computers and the electric grid, and the ability to quantify failure scenarios, can we develop effective solutions for mitigating risks and maximizing protection of this critical infrastructure."