Cybersecurity Challenges for Natural Gas Operations

Two-hour Webinar Description:  As computer controlled critical energy infrastructure, Natural Gas operations systems are under constant threats of cybersecurity attacks from bad actors.  These threats range from simple ransomware attacks from opportunistic criminals to sophisticated attacks from nation states.  This workshop examined the challenges Natural Gas operations have hardening their systems to such threats.  The workshop was divided into two panel discussions – one that presented a view of modern cybersecurity issues from experts at Colorado State University; and one that presented cybersecurity challenges that are specific to the nature of Natural Gas operations.

Original date of webinar was October 7, 2020

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Co-Hosts:   Gas Technology Institute and Energy Institute at Colorado State University


(First Half of Workshop) 11:00am – Noon MT

Moderator:  Jerry Duggan, Smart Village Microgrid Lab Manager, Energy Institute, Colorado State University

(Second Half of Workshop)  Noon – 12:50pm MT

Moderator:  Matt Manning, Senior Program Manager, Gas Technology Institute

  • Niyo Little Thunder Pearson, Sr.,  Supervisor – Cybersecurity/Cyber Operations, ONE Gas
  • David Balenson, Senior Computer Scientist, SRI International

 12:50pm – 1:00pm MT – Wrap up by Jerry Duggan and Matt Manning


Jerry Duggan
Smart Village Microgrid Lab Manager
Energy Institute, Colorado State University

Jerry Duggan is the Lab Manager at Colorado State University’s Smart Village Microgrid Lab at the Energy Institute, which does research in village-scale microgrids, DC power distribution systems, and AC/DC efficiency studies. Prior to his role at CSU, Jerry was a Senior Software Architect at HP, defining standards and implementing software for large-scale IT management systems.  He has a Masters degree in Computer Science from the University of Utah, and a Bachelors degree in Math and Computer Science from New Mexico State University.

Indrakshi Ray
Director, Colorado Center for Cyber Security
Colorado State University

Indrakshi Ray is a Full Professor in the Computer Science Department at Colorado State University. She has been a visiting faculty at AFRL, NRL, and at INRIA, Rocquencourt, France. She obtained her Ph.D.  from George Mason University.  Dr. Ray’s research interests include security models and protocols, formal analysis assurance of security properties, and security analytics.  Dr. Ray has published over 200 articles in reputed journals and conferences. Dr. Ray is on the editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Services Computing, IEEE Security and Privacy, and Computer Standards and Interfaces.  She has served on numerous panels and program committees. Dr. Ray’s current research is supported by AFRL, NIST, NSF, SecureNok, CableLabs, Furuno Electric Company, and American Megatrends Incorporated and spans energy, transportation, and healthcare security.

Stephen Hayne
Deputy Director, Colorado Center for Cyber Security
Colorado State University

Dr. Hayne is a Full Professor of Computer Information Systems in the College of Business at Colorado State University.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona (1990).  His research is based in the desire to use innovative technologies to solve real business problems.  He has developed theories and implemented systems to help groups with communication and decision-making, using concepts such as shared cognition, collaborative drawing, brainstorming, concurrent issue surfacing/consolidation, and consensus building.  Dr. Hayne’s current research interests lie with “social” network theory/analytics, security and threat hunting in big data.  His most recent research award from DHS involves detecting and mitigating large-scale distributed denial of service attacks (DDOS).

Craig Partridge
Professor and Chair, Department of Computer Science
Colorado State University

Dr. Partridge’s research is centered on data communications and cyber security.   He is best-known for designing how Internet email is routed and creating prototypes (whose basic architectures are still used today) for high performance Internet backbone routers and encryption devices.   He is a Fellow of the ACM and the IEEE and a member of the Internet Hall of Fame.

Matt Manning
Senior Program Manager
Gas Technology Institute

Matt Manning is an experienced IT and information privacy leader with demonstrated success in technology implementations, Lean Six Sigma continuous process improvement, strategic planning, and change management. He is currently a Senior Program Manager at Gas Technology Institute where he manages all aspects of the Operations Technology Development Cybersecurity Collaborative, a consortium of natural gas distribution companies focused on the prevention, detection, and mitigation of cyber threats against energy infrastructure assets.


Niyo Little Thunder Pearson
Supervisor, Cybersecurity & OT Cybersecurity

Niyo Little Thunder Pearson is the supervisor for Cybersecurity and OT Cybersecurity at ONE Gas. Prior to ONE Gas, Pearson was a senior incident responder for American Express, where he led escalated security incident remediation. He co-architected and co-developed with another Amex analyst, the first major security orchestration and incident response platform used by Amex Security Operations Center in 2012. Pearson has also been the global wireless subject matter expert for SonicWALL (prior to the DELL acquisition), where he was a liaison between the large enterprise customer escalations and engineering, along with being a part of the pre-release development team for wireless firmware and hardware.

David Balenson
Senior Computer Scientist
SRI International

 Mr. Balenson is a senior computer scientist in the Computer Science Laboratory at independent, non-profit research institute SRI International. He provides technical support to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and work with the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) to support the Operations Technology Development (OTD) Cybersecurity Collaborative, a public-private partnership between natural gas distribution companies and DHS to address the high-priority cybersecurity issues of participating members through a focused outreach and education process and a technology evaluation and transfer initiative.



******************Workshop Co-Hosts******************