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The U.S. Energy Grid Gets Improved Cyber Protection with New Bill

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  • Along with the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), legislation to safeguard the U.S. Energy Grid from cyberattacks has been passed.
  • This Bill includes the Securing Energy Infrastructure Act and recommends solutions including using analog backup systems.

What is the Securing Energy Infrastructure Act?

This Act aims to identify the security vulnerabilities present in certain entities in the energy sector.

  • It proposes a two-year pilot program within the National Laboratories for the purpose of identification.
  • The evaluated technology and standards include analog and nondigital control systems, purpose-built control systems, and physical controls.
  • It also requires to establish a working group that would evaluate the technology and standards and develop a national cyber-informed engineering strategy.
  • This working group should have at least 10 members according to this Act.

The other details

Senator Angus King and Senator Jim Risch introduced the Securing Energy Infrastructure Act. Representative Dutch Ruppersberger and Representative John Carter are said to have introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

“The energy grid powers our financial transactions, communications networks, healthcare services and most of our daily life– so if this critical infrastructure is compromised by a hacker, these building blocks of American life are at risk. Protecting our energy grid is commonsense, bipartisan, and vital to national security, and I’m happy this year’s NDAA will enshrine this needed provision into law,” said Senator Angus King.

The backdrop

This bill comes at a time when the world recently witnessed the first of its kind attack on sPower, a renewable energy provider in the United States. The attacker was reported to have exploited a Cisco firewall vulnerability to disconnect the company’s wind and solar power generation installations from the main command center.

What’s next?

With the NDAA passing the House by a large difference in votes, it is expected to be signed by the President soon.

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