Cyberattacks take aim at more than just traditional computer networks. The Department of Energy has recently partnered with the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), awarding a $1.7 million grant to coordinate ways to identify and prevent cyberattacks on the nation’s utility and power grids.

“Utilities and energy delivery systems are unique in several ways,” said GTRI researcher Seth Walters, one of the principal investigators on the project, in a press release. “They provide distribution over a large geographic area and are composed of disparate components which must work together as the system’s operating state evolves. Relevant security technologies need to work within the bandwidth limitations of these systems in order to see broad adoption and they need to account for the varying security profiles of the components within these power systems.”

The protective system will be built based on Georgia Tech research in the control, operation and monitoring of electric power utilities and their infrastructure, and will work to detect malicious content and intrusive agents.