Dems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity

Dems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity

Democratic senators are pushing for the Department of Energy "to conduct a thorough analysis of Russian capabilities with respect to cyberattacks on our energy infrastructure" after researchers detailed the malware used to blackout part of Ukraine's power grid in December

A letter dated Thursday to President Trump cosigned by 19 senators asks him to order the Energy Department to make such an inspection, chiding him for not conducting the analysis the first time the group sent him a request to do so on March 19. 

"Your administration failed to respond. In the meantime, the threat Russia poses to our critical infrastructure has become increasingly clear," reads the letter.

On Wednesday, President Trump met with leaders of the energy sector to discuss cybersecurity. 

The malware used in Ukraine was described in reports by Dragos Security and ESET on June 12, alternately nicknamed "CrashOverride" and "Industroyer." The believed Russian malware is customizable to be used against a wide assortment of industrial control systems, meaning it is not only effective against a broad swath of electric grid components, but also a wide assortment of other computerized factories and physical systems.

The 19 signatories were Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellDemocrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  FCC rolls back media regulations in move that critics say benefits Sinclair Steps Congress can take to save affordable housing in tax reform MORE (D-Wash.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongress faces growing health care crisis in Puerto Rico Photos of the Week: Nov. 13-17 Senate panel approves GOP tax plan MORE (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownScott Garrett poses real threat to EXIM Bank, small businesses Class warfare fight erupts over tax bills Senators Hatch, Brown have heated exchange on GOP tax plan MORE (D-Ohio), Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinStates fill family caregiver void left by Congress Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  Dem PAC bullish on Senate chances MORE (D-Wis.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichSenators introduce bipartisan gun background check bill Dem senator: 'Super close' on bipartisan deal on guns Senators urge DHS to reconsider DACA applications that were delayed in the mail MORE (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsA simple way to make America even greater is fixing our patent system Ensuring that defense agencies will have access to a community of entrepreneurs and innovators McConnell: 'I don't hear much pressure' to pass bill protecting Mueller from Trump MORE (D-Del.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenReport: Conyers settled wrongful dismissal complaint over 'sexual advances' Arianna Huffington denies Franken behaved inappropriately in response to new photos Right way and wrong way MORE (D-Minn.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDe Blasio headed to Iowa to speak at political fundraiser Yes, spills happen — but pipelines are still the safest way to move oil Why sexual harassment discussions include lawmakers talking about Bill Clinton’s past MORE (I-Vt.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenate Democrats introduce bill to block Trump's refugee ban FCC votes to limit program funding internet access for low-income communities Two GOP senators oppose Trump’s EPA chemical safety nominee MORE (D-Mass.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinQuestions loom over Franken ethics probe GOP defends Trump judicial nominee with no trial experience Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  MORE (D-Ill.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Raymond ReedArmy leader on waiver report: 'There's been no change in standards' 15 Dems urge FEC to adopt new rules for online political ads Monopoly critics decry ‘Amazon amendment’ MORE (D-R.I.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate Democrats introduce bill to block Trump's refugee ban Overnight Health Care: Senate tax bill to include ObamaCare mandate repeal | Dems seize on new ObamaCare fight | CBO warns tax bill could spur B in Medicare cuts Democrats seize on renewed ObamaCare fight MORE (D-Hawaii), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayGOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill Collins: Pass bipartisan ObamaCare bills before mandate repeal Murkowski: ObamaCare fix not a precondition for tax vote MORE (D-Wash.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperDemocrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  Pruitt to testify on EPA agenda at House, Senate hearings Senate confirms top air regulator at EPA MORE (D-Del.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyCongress must end American support for Saudi war in Yemen Jones raised 0K a day after first Moore accusers came forward: report Senate Democrats introduce bill to block Trump's refugee ban MORE (D-Conn.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenQuestions loom over Franken ethics probe State Dept. spokeswoman acknowledges 'morale issue' Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  MORE (D-N.H.). 

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The letter notes that the administration proposed funding cuts for the Energy Department's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, whose website says its mission is to "drive electric grid modernization and resiliency in the energy infrastructure."

"Instead of responsibly performing the requested assessment, your administration has proposed slashing funding to the very offices tasked with protecting our grid from Russian cyberattacks," reads the letter.  

"Indeed, the Department of Energy’s Congressional Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2018 proposes to dramatically reduce funding for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability by more than 40%. How can our government protect our national security assets if the administration does not allocate the necessary resources?"