Thursday, October 25, 2012

INL researcher takes part in cybersecurity task force

Rita Wells of the Idaho National Laboratory
Rita Wells, a cyber and control systems security researcher at the Idaho National Laboratory, has been appointed to a 15-member cyberskills task force.

The group was formed to help the Department of Homeland Security and the federal government recruit and retain talented cybersecurity professionals. Among the recommendations in a report it presented this month to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the group called for a two-year, community college-based program to identify and train people for critical cybersecurity jobs. It also recommended establishing a cyber-reserve program that would allow cybersecurity professionals from outside government to assist DHS in times of need, and a sustained effort to train and hire veterans for critical cybersecurity positions.

Wells, an INL employee for 22 years, is currently leads the lab’s electric sector security programs. She is the recipient of numerous cybersecurity awards including the SANS Institute’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) security leadership award. She often speaks at national cybersecurity conferences and has provided testimony to Congress on the challenges of cybersecurity in the electric utility sector.

For nearly a decade, INL has been internationally recognized for its research in critical infrastructure protection, cyber and control systems security, and electric grid reliability. The laboratory manages several multi-year security programs, including the DHS Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) and the Department of Energy’s National SCADA Test Bed.