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Latvian energy infrastructure operators prepare to build cyber security capabilities

The establishment of the Energy Infrastructure Operators’ Cyber Security Centre is an important step in the context of rising cyber security incidents across Latvia, especially after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The unified natural gas transmission and storage operator in Latvia, Conexus Baltic Grid (Conexus), independent electricity transmission system operator, Augstspriegumu tīkls (AST) and the information technology security incident response authority CERT.LV have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment and management of a cyber security centre for energy infrastructure operators.

The Memorandum foresees the development of a defined procedure for the exchange of information between the parties involved in cyber security incidents and their prevention, with the capacity to react swiftly to such incidents.

“The security of our natural gas infrastructure, ensuring uninterrupted supply of natural gas, remains our top priority. That is why it is our duty to protect the energy infrastructure against growing and evolving cyber threats with the utmost responsibility through coordinated inter-agency cooperation. We are pleased that all parties involved are already aware of the importance of cyber security issues, and this shared understanding will foster even closer cooperation in the future to strengthen the cyber security of Latvia’s energy infrastructure,” said Uldis Bariss, Chairman of the Conexus Management Board.

“Energy infrastructure has long ceased to be just a collection of metal objects, it is a complex system in which various information technology solutions play an increasingly important role. Information is already being exchanged between the signatories of the Memorandum at an operational level, and it is planned to formalise the cooperation in order to define the involvement, rights, duties and responsibilities of each party involved in addressing cyber security threats both preventively and proactively, and in the face of real attacks,” pointed out AST Board Member Arnis Daugulis.

“This Memorandum marks an important step towards a common understanding and achievement of cyber security objectives in the Latvian energy sector. Such cooperation provides an opportunity to ensure a faster and more efficient exchange of information between the parties involved, as well as a proactive response to incidents. Making the energy sector more secure and resilient to cyber threats also strengthens all other energy-dependent sectors, not only in Latvia but also in Europe,” added Dr Bernhard Blumberg, CERT.LV’s lead cyber security expert.

The signatories to the Memorandum do not exclude the possibility of expanding the initiative to other participants in Latvia or the region in the future.

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