Report Calls for Better Backstops to Protect Power Grid From Cyberattacks
March 2, 2014
MATTHEW L. WALD
WASHINGTON — Despite rising anxiety over the possibility of a cyberattack on the power grid, the industry and government are not set up well to counter the threat, according to a report produced by leading energy security experts. Companies are reluctant to share information with one other, a critical step in reducing vulnerability, because they are afraid of being accused of failing to comply with cybersecurity rules, committing antitrust violations or giving away proprietary information, the report found.
And the federal rules intended to protect the electric system from cyberattack are inadequate because they do not give companies an incentive to continually improve and adapt to a changing threat, according to the report, which was released on Friday.
The report was produced by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington nonprofit group, and led by Michael V. Hayden, the former director of the C.I.A.; Curt Hébert Jr., a former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and Susan Tierney, a former assistant secretary of energy and former utility regulator in Massachusetts. The experts also found that while the government had focused on the high-voltage power grid, less work has been done on the lower-voltage distribution system, which could cause problems that would propagate up the chain.