- Creates additional layer of cyber protection beyond the traditional IT/OT firewalls to safeguard critical infrastructure and systems
- Digital Ghost is a first-of-its-kind solution that is designed to rapidly detect and isolate cyber threats with high accuracy and act to neutralize them to keep industrial assets operating safely and reliably
- Combines GE’s Digital Twin and Edge Computing technologies to continuously monitor systems and enable real-time changes to industrial controls to maintain normal operations during a cyberattack
- GE researchers currently field testing new solution with key industry and government partners, with plans to make it commercially available in late 2019
Niskayuna, NY – January 15, 2019 – Demonstrating a first-of-its-kind capability to both rapidly detect and neutralize cyber threats against industrial control systems (ICS), GE Research, the innovation engine for GE (NYSE: GE), announced a new cyber-defense solution called Digital Ghost.
Digital Ghost was unveiled during a keynote address by GE executives Colin Parris, Vice President of Software Research, and Justin John, Technology Director for Controls and Optimization Technologies, at the premier S4X19 Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Cybersecurity conference, being held this week in Miami, Florida.
Digital Ghost resides beyond the traditional IT/OT firewalls, living inside the industrial control system itself. It uses a network of sensors, controls and key insights from AI-driven digital twins of key assets to continuously monitor and when necessary, enable real-time actions to thwart cyber threats. In simulation testing and field trials, Digital Ghost has been shown to rapidly detect and isolate threats with 99% accuracy.
“Digital Ghost will give operators a new defense mechanism to safeguard critical infrastructure against the increasing number of cyberattacks made on their industrial control systems,” said Justin John, Technology Director, Controls and Optimization at GE Research. “It not only will enable operators to more rapidly and accurately detect incoming cyber threats, it will help them neutralize these threats to keep operations running safely and reliably even while a cyberattack is occurring.”
Digital Ghost will help address two big ICS challenges: The rapid rise in the number of cyberattacks on industrial control systems over the past five years and the long lag times for detecting an attack. Recent ICS viruses have been shown to go undetected for months, even years.
John added, “In simulation testing, Digital Ghost can accurately and consistently detect cyberattacks within seconds. When you then combine rapid detection with real-time action to neutralize an attack, it takes ICS cyber protection to a whole new level.”
A key enabler of Digital Ghost is GE’s Digital Twin technology, in which GE researchers have created more than 1.2 million digital models of critical parts, assets, systems and processes across GE’s industrial product portfolio. GE’s Digital Twins are living, learning models that generate specific insights from operational and sensor data, human engineering expertise, fleet data and simulation testing to deliver a desired business outcome.
In the case of Digital Ghost, Digital Twins are core to its capabilities for detecting, isolating and then neutralizing cyberattacks. The Twins form a picture of the normal operations, or “true physics” of industrial assets. They also are extensively used to simulate attacks, which allows Digital Ghost to clearly differentiate between normal operation and a cyber-attack.
Colin Parris, Vice President of Software Research for GE Research and leader of the Digital Twin Initiative across GE, said, “The premise of Digital Ghost is that you can’t fool the physics, and the Digital Twin represents the true physics or normal operating conditions of a given power system. If any part of a power system experiences a change in operations outside the normal range, the Ghost is designed to recognize something is wrong, alert the operator and then relay to the control system how to mitigate a cyberattack.”
As commercial plans are formalized, teams of researchers at the Center are continuing to work with the U.S. Department of Energy to make further developments with this cyber-defense technology in the power sector. They currently have ongoing programs to develop new cyber protection solutions for wind power generation installations and natural gas systems as well. You can read more about these projects here.
About GE Research
GE Research is GE’s innovation powerhouse where research meets reality. We are a world-class team of 1,000+ scientific, engineering and marketing minds (600+ Ph. Ds), working at the intersection of physics and markets, physical and digital technologies, and across a broad set of industries to deliver world-changing innovations and capabilities for our customers. To learn more, visit our website at https://www.ge.com/research/.