Lawmakers: Electric utilities ignore cyber warnings

Lawmakers: Electric utilities ignore cyber warnings
Lawmakers: Electric utilities ignore cyber warnings 

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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