October 2, 2019

It's Time for the US to Take Grid Security Seriously, Hunt Says

By Jacqueline Isaacs

Twenty-first century life, from life-saving technological advancements in hospitals to improved food storage, depends heavily on a reliable electric grid. Each year our demands on the grid rise, and according to Sarah Hunt, Rainey Center CEO and co-founder, the grid is increasingly at risk which is a national security issue.

Hunt explains the situation in a new article in Protego Press, saying,

The U.S. has been fortunate to have evaded an attack so far, but we shouldn’t presume that will always be the case. Although news of a cyber attack at a Vermont facility raised alarm in 2017, the incident was minor—especially after authorities announced that the affected computer was not linked to the electric grid. That time, America got lucky.

We must be prepared to defend ourselves and our infrastructure against the growing threat of cyber attacks on our electric grid. This will require investments in infrastructure improvements and new policies focused on making the grid more resilient. The consequences of failing to do so are too great to risk. A sustained power outage in an urban area would cause serious and prolonged human suffering.

The responsibility to protect the grid falls to state policymakers, Hunt explains, because the electric grid that currently keeps the United States functioning is not a single system. Rather, it is a patchwork of state-based infrastructure. Additionally, the sources of energy are increasingly diversified. Hunt says,

Given the many changes our electric grid is undergoing, we also need to make sure that our cybersecurity policies are flexible and capable of responding to industry needs. With the growth of alternative energy, homes and businesses are increasingly generating and storing energy on site at a larger and larger scale. This means that energy security is no longer just a concern for utilities and major corporations. 

As our leaders work to develop an effective cybersecurity policy as part of infrastructure planning, they need to look at ways to support these distributed resources. With utilities across the country increasingly looking into ways of pairing renewable generation with battery storage, these systems need to be part of the security discussion as well.

Learn more by reading the full article here: Grid Security is National Security

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