Cyber attacks represent a major threat to the electric power sector. The FBI has noted that cyber attacks are eclipsing terrorism as the primary threat facing the United States. While the power sector has yet to face a cyber attack that has disrupted operations, attempted violations of energy system networks are frequent. In the first half of fiscal year 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “responded to over 200 incidents across all critical infrastructure sectors.” The majority (53 percent) occurred in the energy sector.
Much has been done to improve cybersecurity within the power sector. But given the numerous federal and state government agencies responsible for grid cybersecurity, the vast number of participants in the power sector and the rapidly evolving nature of threats, managing cyber risks is a significant challenge.
The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Electric Grid Cybersecurity Initiative co-chairs General (Ret.) Michael Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, and Curt Hébert, former FERC chairman and former executive vice president of Entergy Corporation will present the new report on February 28.
The report will include policy recommendations, aimed at government agencies as well as private companies, for protecting the North American electric grid from cyber attacks. BPC’s recommendations address strengthening existing protections for the distribution system as well as the bulk power system; enhancing coordination at all levels; and accelerating the development of robust protocols for response and recovery in the event of a successful attack.