Thu, 13 May 2021

WASHINGTON D.C.: The Biden administration is asking power companies to put in place improvements to their systems to be alerted in the event of intrusions during cyber attacks.

Beyond creating alerts, the White House is asking power companies to also put in place procedures to deter such attacks.

The White House has announced it is creating a 100-day initiative to see that power companies are protected from cyber attacks by foreigners and other hackers.

Coordinated by the U.S. Energy Department, the program encourages owners and operators of power plants and electric utilities to upgrade their abilities in identifying cyber threats to their networks.

Additionally, the Energy Department is requesting power companies and electric utilities to offer recommendations on how to safeguard the nation's power supplies.

"Innovative partnerships like these are essential to addressing the urgent cybersecurity challenge, because much of our critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector," said Emily Horne, a spokeswoman for the White House's National Security Council.

Also involved in the program is the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which observers see as the importance that is being placed on preventing the nation's power supplies from being attacked.

Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, said this month that the administration was developing a new program to assist electric utilities, water districts and other critical industries, to respond to potentially damaging cyber attacks.

A Government Accountability Office report has recommended that the Energy Department, the primary federal agency for the energy sector, do more to address the risks of cyber attacks.
Intelligence officials note that a Russian cyberattack knocked parts of Ukraine's power grids offline in 2015 and 2016.

Last month, the U.S. Justice Department charged six Russian hackers, all believed to be military intelligence officers, in connection with that attack and others.

The U.S. "faces a well-documented and increasing cyber threat from malicious actors seeking to disrupt the electricity Americans rely on to power our homes and businesses," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said, in a statement announcing the new effort.
"It's up to both government and industry to prevent possible harms - that's why we're working together to take these decisive measures so Americans can rely on a resilient, secure, and clean energy system," she added.

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