Trump’s cybersecurity executive order calls for power grid assessment
The Trump Administration pledged to make cybersecurity a primary concern throughout his campaign, but was slow to deliver as he pushed through multiple orders rolling back former President Obama’s key actions on energy, climate and healthcare.
But the order appears to address concerns held by utility officials, who have long worried about a massive blackout stemming from a cyberattack. A major in the Ukraine two years ago and a scare at a Vermont utility earlier this year highlighted additional concerns over the vulnerability of the grid to a major attack.
In Utility Dive’s latest sector survey of more than 600 utility professionals, respondents named physical and cyber security the most pressing issue facing their companies today.
According to a report from Lloyd’s of London, a cyberattack on the U.S. grid could cost $1 trillion.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) ran a simulated attack on the U.S. grid in 2015, partnering the industry and government to determine how to improve responses in the event of a real attack. In August of 2016, researchers at the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) demanded new awareness for grid security as the rollout of smart grid technology raised the risk of cyber attacks.
“With utilities in the U.S. and around the world increasingly moving toward smart grid technology and other upgrades with inherent cyber vulnerabilities, correlative threats from malicious cyber attacks on the North American electric grid continue to grow in frequency and sophistication,” the researchers wrote.