December 14, 2019

U.S. Energy Grid Coverage Proposal Passes with NDAA

Legislation aimed at protecting the U.S. power grid from cyber attacks passed this week, after the National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) was introduced in 2020.

The NDAA voted 377-48 in 2020, and President Donald Trump will sign it shortly.

The annual Military Bill includes the Securing Energy Infrastructure Act, which sets out a two-year energy pilot program with the aim of identifying vulnerabilities and isolating critical grid systems.

Sen. Angus King and Sen. Jim Risch have introduced the Energy Infrastructure Security Act, and the House of Representatives has been accompanied by Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger and Rep. John Carter.

The bill proposes solutions such as the use of analog backup systems to prevent too much damage caused by cyber attacks.

“This approach seeks to thwart even the most advanced cyber adversaries, who should actually touch the grid physically if they wish to access the grid, making cyber-attacks much harder,” according to a press release from Sen. Angus ‘ office.

The proposal also requires the creation of a working group to analyze the national laboratory solutions and to devise a national grid protection strategy.

“If this vital infrastructure is hacked by a hacker, these building blocks in US life are in jeopardy,” says Senator King. “The grid supports our financial transactions, communications networks, healthcare services and most of our daily lives. “Protecting our grid is commonsense, bipartisan and essential to the national security, and this is a year when the NDAA sets this necessary provisions in law.” The cybersecurity and physical safety of the North American grid has been recently tested as part of the major GridEx V exercise.

Earlier this year, a power utility in the USA announced a denial-of-service (DoS) attack causing disruption in electrical system operations involving exploitation of a known weakness in Cisco firewalls.

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