There’s long been concern that malicious actors will one day target the United States electrical grid. To help counter any sort of attack leaving us both literally and figuratively in the dark, the Biden Administration announced a new “100-day” plan to help protect a very sensitive part of our utility infrastructure.
In a press release solicited on April 20, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said the plan is designed to help utility companies, nationwide partner, up with the Fed to prevent possible cyberattacks from harming an already besieged network.
The effort will be led by both the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
The plan lists a set of milestones that are called “aggressive but achievable.” They’re designed to assist owners and operators as they modernize cybersecurity defenses.
“The safety and security of the American people depend on the resilience of our nation’s critical infrastructure. This partnership with the Department of Energy to protect the U.S. electric system will prove a valuable pilot as we continue our work to secure industrial control systems across all sectors,” said CISA Director (Acting) Brandon Wales.
“The United States 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,” Granholm said. “That’s why we’re working together to take these decisive measures so Americans can rely on a resilient, secure, and clean energy system.”
Over the next 100 days, DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER)—in partnership with electric utilities—will continue to advance technologies and systems that will provide cyber visibility, detection, and response capabilities for industrial control systems of electric utilities.
The initiative modernizes cybersecurity defenses and:
- Encourages owners and operators to implement measures or technology that enhance their detection, mitigation, and forensic capabilities;
- Includes concrete milestones over the next 100 days for owners and operators to identify and deploy technologies and systems that enable near real-time situational awareness and response capabilities in the critical industrial control system (ICS) and operational technology (OT) networks;
- Reinforces and enhances the cybersecurity posture of critical infrastructure information technology (IT) networks; and
- Includes a voluntary industry effort to deploy technologies to increase the visibility of threats in ICS and OT systems.
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