Perspecta Labs tests cyber-weapon hunting tech in DARPA's power cybersecurity exercise

CHANTILLY, Va. Perspecta Labs -- a research unit at Perspecta Inc. -- participated in seven-day exercise under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Liberty Eclipse Phase II exercise in collaboration with the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security to test grid recovery tools during a staged, multi-faceted cyberattack on a U.S. power grid.

Liberty Eclipse Phase II is the fourth and largest in a series of exercises under DARPA’s Rapid Attack Detection Isolation and Characterization Systems (RADICS) research program. The RADICS objective was to develop technologies for detecting and responding to cyberattacks on critical U.S. infrastructure, with an ultimate goal of enabling cyber and power engineers the ability to restore electrical service within seven days in the event of a major attack.

During the seven day exercise, performers on the RADICS program were tasked with using performer-developed tools to provide comprehensive grid situational awareness, restore supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and network infrastructure, cleanse substations and defeat active adversaries to establish two diverse paths in order to re-energize, interconnect and synchronize two utility operators in a black start scenario.

In the exercise, Perspecta Labs tested various technologies transitioning to commercial use under the company’s SecureSmart offering, including: the SHERLOC cyber-weapon hunting system featuring a new grid state consistency analyzer called Jolt that integrates ground truth feeder state from Advanced Meter Infrastructure as a telemetry source; and the MANTESSA cyber-physical early detection and situational awareness system, featuring novel machine intelligence techniques and statistical inference of out-of-band measurements, field reports and other data sources.

Perspecta Labs also supported BAE Systems on the set up of a Secure Emergency Network. The company’s Distributed Assured and Dynamic Configuration (DADC) tool was used to efficiently generate error-free configurations for that network.

As a result of the exercise, the Perspecta Labs team gained actionable insight from utilities, observers and participants to improve the usability, expand the capabilities and continue the transition of its SHERLOC and MANTESSA solutions.