By Grant Gross
IDG News Service
July 21, 2009
The U.S. electrical grid remains vulnerable to cyber and electromagnetic
pulse attacks despite years of warnings, several U.S. lawmakers said
The electric industry has pushed against federal cybersecurity standards
and some utilities appear to be avoiding industry self-regulatory
efforts by declining to designate their facilities or equipment as
critical assets that need special protection, said U.S. Rep. Yvette
Clarke, a New York Democrat and chairwoman of the House Homeland
Security Committee's Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity,
and Science and Technology.
"This effort seems to epitomize the head-in-the-sand mentality that
seems to permeate broad sections of the electric industry," Clarke said.
The U.S. electric grid is an "obvious target" for enemies of the nation,
and a major outage would affect all aspects of everyday life, Clarke
said during a hearing. "We simply cannot afford to lose broad sections
of our grid for days, weeks or months," she said.
Despite years of warnings from lawmakers, electric utilities' efforts to
secure themselves against cyber or electromagnetic pulse, or EMP,
attacks seem to be lagging, Clarke added. During a three-year
subcommittee review of electrical grid security, committee members and
staff talked to hundreds of experts and read thousands of pages of
studies, she said.
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