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ACS Releases and Deploys Mobile Monitoring Probes for Field Area Network Security and Operations
[June 14, 2013]

ACS Releases and Deploys Mobile Monitoring Probes for Field Area Network Security and Operations

Jun 14, 2013 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) -- Applied Communication Sciences (ACS) announced the release and first deployment of its mobile Field Area Network (FAN) monitoring probes for utility Smart Grid security monitoring and operations of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Distribution Automation (DA) networks.

According to a release, mobile probes provide utilities with another deployment option in ACS's SecureSmart Managed Security Service (MSS).

ACS reported that the probes, mounted in utility vehicles, "come along for the ride" with a service or power line technician and sample traffic throughout a utility's service area. These new mobile probes are equipped with GPS capability and full back-end support to intercept and analyze over-the-air FAN communication in real-time for use by engineering, operations and security work centers. The GPS capabilities allow utilities to pin-point packet capture locations during analysis. SecureSmart MSS analytics detects potential security intrusions and has proven valuable in revealing anomalous smart meter and DA device behavior, configuration errors, and unexpected network problems.

Mobile monitoring positions SecureSmart Managed Security Service clients at the forefront of Smart Grid AMI and DA security and operations. In addition to reducing the number of probes needed to cover a given service territory, mobile probes provide a troubleshooting aid that can be dispatched on-demand. With GPS beacons on each mobile probe, utilities can redirect the nearest probe-equipped fleet vehicle to areas experiencing difficulty to help investigate and troubleshoot problems in real-time. As an independent tool, SecureSmart MSS mobile probes can observe actual traffic flows not visible through management systems.

This mobile probe capability enables SecureSmart MSS to provide utilities with greater situational awareness and complement its full suite of deep packet traffic analysis, intrusion detection, traffic profiling and analytics applications, such as its MeshView Network Analytics tool which constructs logical and GIS-based connectivity and routing maps of FAN subnets and abstracts communication flows. Advanced filtering and time playback features enable utilities to quickly focus on specific data and watch a playback of activity to support security analysis, forensics, network operations, network engineering, and field diagnostics.

"Our SecureSmart Managed Security Service is the industry's first FAN security intrusion detection and operations visibility solution. It has proven its value in the field by providing utilities with previously unavailable situational awareness into Smart Meter networks. These new mobile probes provide utilities with exceptional monitoring flexibility," said Tony Bogovic, Applied Communication Sciences' Group President, Advanced Consulting and Engineering.

Applied Communication Sciences creates engineering and consulting solutions to enable utilities, government agencies, telecom carriers and commercial enterprises to fully exploit and secure the future of information and communications technologies.

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