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Acea Distribuzione Deploys Check Point SCADA Security Solution

June 2016 by Emmanuelle Lamandé

Check Point(r) Software Technologies Ltd. announced Acea Distribuzione, part of Acea Group, one of the largest Italian public utility companies for power and water supply, has deployed Check Point’s 1200R security gateway appliances to secure its critical infrastructure, SCADA network and control systems.

Following the findings of the Panoptesec project, Acea selected the Check Point solution following a competitive tender for a customizable, rugged solution that would work in harsh operating environments, including primary and secondary energy switching and distribution sites, while meeting specific technical requirements. The 1200R appliance was the only proven solution to meet these requirements, and Acea worked with systems integrator DGS Group to deploy it within the company’s existing network infrastructure.

Additionally, the 1200R will integrate with the Panoptesec cyber defence decision support infrastructure. This EU-funded initiative addresses the challenges of detecting vulnerabilities and possible attacks on sensitive information and essential networks and services by enabling individuals, companies and organisations to handle security incidents. Panoptesec delivers a continuous cyber security monitoring and response capability in real-time. It proactively and reactively evaluates system weaknesses to identify potential attacks, provide a list of prioritised response actions to automatically manage cyber incidents.

"We wanted to protect our internal and external SCADA assets as well as all the relevant Command & Control centers," says Andrea Guarino, ICT Security, Privacy and Compliance manager at Acea. "The ’pain point’ was being able to detect and block all ’normal’ attacks against our networks and those attacks specifically targeting SCADA networks and devices. We also needed to ensure we had full visibility of the SCADA command sequences, both sent and received, on the controlled networks and that we were able to record them for forensic and analysis purposes. The Check Point solution was the only one to meet all of our criteria."

The Check Point 1200R has also improved overall performance on Acea’s SCADA networks thanks to the traffic filtering done on the appliance: this could potentially enable more peripheral devices to be deployed on existing servers and communication lines.

"The Check Point solution provides us with enhanced security and has improved our ability to identify and respond to potential vulnerabilities," added Andrea Guarino at Acea. "We now also have a better understanding of the command flows and information used by our SCADA systems and industrial control systems. Furthermore, we can now monitor and analyze network traffic, enabling us to improve our overall security posture."

Acea was the first company to utilise the Panoptesec service to centralise data and resources from its commercial partners and suppliers, collating information provided by various cyber security defence systems and probes, including firewall, IPS / IDS, Silent Defense and Syslog. This centralised information simplifies analysis and monitoring.

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