The Biggest Cybersecurity Threat: The Energy Sector

November 4, 2015

Michael Krancer

In honor of October's designation as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has unveiled a new Web page dedicated to promoting cybersecurity for small businesses. - See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8491-sba-unveils-small-business-cybersecurity-tools.html#sthash.HVndjn45.dpuf

Cybersecurity has been at the forefront of the news for several years. Coverage of the space usually focuses on a breach at a consumer-facing company, resulting in people’s credit cards, bank and personal records being stolen. As bad as these kinds of incidents are, however, we have thus far avoided cybersecurity threats that pose far larger and scarier problems. It’s cyber attacks on the energy space, not the consumer credit space, that could cripple the United States — or any country — as well as bring about a collapse of order and society that most of us associate with apocalyptical scenarios.

Hollywood has picked up on this theme, producing a film earlier this year, Blackhat, which Wired called “the best hacker movie ever made.” The movie’s premise centers on the meltdown of a Hong Kong nuclear plant as a result of targeting by hackers. It takes much of its inspiration from Stuxnet, a malicious computer worm that the United States used to destroy a fifth of Iran’s uranium-enriching centrifuges. But the threat currently facing the world isn’t one dreamed up by Hollywood; it’s real. A congressional commission estimated that a large-scale blackout, if prolonged, could lead to 90% of the United States’ population perishing from disease, lack of food and general societal breakdown.

My team and I recently detailed these threats in an article for The Legal Intelligencer. The analysis of the piece runs quite deep, delving into some arcane aspects of state-level and federal-level legislation that look to address the threat from cyber attacks on the energy sector. Our examination in The Legal Intelligencer provides for some critical takeaways. Along with my Blank Rome co-authors on the paper, Margaret Anne Hill and Tom Duncan, I have closely studied the kind of domino effects yielded by particularly potent attacks on the information systems of our energy infrastructure. The conclusions we put forth should give all of us pause.

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SBA Unveils Small Business Cybersecurity Tools
Credit: Mark Van Scyoc

In honor of October's designation as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has unveiled a new Web page dedicated to promoting cybersecurity for small businesses.

In the wake of high-profile data breaches, many businesses are eager to implement a more robust cybersecurity strategy. The SBA's cybersecurity page, launched earlier this month during the "Cybersecurity at Work" week, offers advice and tools for small business owners who are seeking to better protect both their own data and their customers' data. In 2013, 44 percent of the 800 small business owners surveyed reported having experienced a cyberattack that resulted in an average cost of nearly $9,000, according to a report by the National Small Business Association.

"Cybersecurity is one of our nation's most pressing national security priorities, and America's 28 million small businesses, which create two out of every three new jobs in the U.S., are especially at risk," SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet said in a statement announcing the Web page. "Small employers are quickly becoming a larger target for criminals looking to access sensitive data because small businesses typically have limited resources for information systems security. In an effort to combat cyberattacks against small businesses, the SBA's online tools will help employers identify information security vulnerabilities that put their companies at risk."

- See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8491-sba-unveils-small-business-cybersecurity-tools.html#sthash.HVndjn45.dpuf
In honor of October's designation as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has unveiled a new Web page dedicated to promoting cybersecurity for small businesses. - See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8491-sba-unveils-small-business-cybersecurity-tools.html#sthash.HVndjn45.dpuf