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 CantwellOvernight Energy: Exxon sues feds over M fine | Deputy Interior pick advances | Oil concerns hold up Russia sanctions push Dem to seek investigation into Interior staff reassignments Senate advances controversial Trump Interior nominee MORE (D-Wash.), Ron WydenRon WydenTrump and GOP wise to keep tax reform and infrastructure separate Dem senator questions Justice Department on warrantless surveillance FCC says it cannot provide more proof of claimed cyberattack MORE (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownGOP Senate candidate attacks Anti-Defamation League for ‘witchhunt' on far right Senate Banking leaders introduce flood insurance bill Major progressive group endorses Martha McSally challenger MORE (D-Ohio), Tammy BaldwinTammy BaldwinSteel industry urges House panel to adopt 'Buy America' rules Major progressive group endorses Martha McSally challenger Vulnerable senators raise big money ahead of 2018 MORE (D-Wis.), Martin HeinrichMartin HeinrichNew legislation tells fourth graders to take a hike Dems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity The Memo: Five takeaways from Jeff Sessions’s testimony MORE (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Christopher CoonsChris CoonsDemocrats go in for the kill on ObamaCare repeal Funeral for the filibuster: GOP will likely lay Senate tool to rest Overnight Regulation: Labor groups fear rollback of Obama worker protection rule | Trump regs czar advances in Senate | New FCC enforcement chief MORE (D-Del.), Al FrankenAl FrankenFranken: Trump Jr., Manafort need to testify under oath Trump's DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana Sunday shows preview: Scaramucci makes TV debut as new communication chief MORE (D-Minn.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders keeping door open on 2020 Parliamentarian deals setback to GOP repeal bill OPINION | Hey Dems, Russia won't define 2018, so why not fix your party's problems instead? MORE (I-Vt.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyOPINION | Shailene Woodley: US should run on renewable energy by 2050 Dems urge 'transparent and inclusive' nuke policy review Senate confirms former Boeing VP as deputy Defense secretary MORE (D-Mass.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinTop Dem: Trump’s voter fraud commission will accomplish what Putin wants Senators who have felt McCain's wrath talk of their respect for him Graham and Kushner met to discuss immigration differences: report MORE (D-Ill.), Jack ReedJack ReedArmed Services leaders appoint strategy panel members Senators ask for Syria policy study in defense bill Overnight Defense: Senate confirms Pentagon No. 2 | Uncertain future for Iran deal | Trump to visit Pentagon Thursday | Key general opposes military space corps MORE (D-R.I.), Mazie HironoMazie HironoThree Dem senators call for 'immediate review' of Kushner's security clearance Poll: Sanders is most popular senator in any home state Dem senator: I didn't expect Trump Jr. to give proof of collusion MORE (D-Hawaii), Patty MurrayPatty MurrayLawmakers send McCain well wishes after cancer diagnosis Trump labor board nominees advance in Senate Dems tout failure of GOP healthcare bill MORE (D-Wash.), Tom CarperTom CarperGovernors-turned-senators meet to talk healthcare Overnight Healthcare: GOP'S repeal-only plan quickly collapses in Senate Dem leaders amp up calls for bipartisan ObamaCare fixes MORE (D-Del.), Chris MurphyChris MurphySenate Dems question admin over funding anti-ObamaCare effort Dems see huge field emerging to take on Trump Administration briefs Senate on progress against ISIS MORE (D-Conn.) and Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Defense: Trump gets briefing at Pentagon on ISIS, Afghanistan | Senate panel approves five defense picks | Senators want Syria study in defense bill Gore wishes Mikulski a happy birthday at 'Inconvenient Sequel' premiere Senators ask for Syria policy study in defense bill 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?"