Senate bill would encourage ‘retro’ grid security approach

Senate bill would encourage ‘retro’ grid security approach
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Four senators introduced a bill Monday that aims to reduce the electrical grid’s cybersecurity vulnerability by replacing modern systems with older technology.

The legislation would create a two-year study regarding technology that makes the grid vulnerable, with an emphasis on automated systems that can be hacked remotely.

The Energy Department would then have to report on the study and the feasibility of certain technological changes.

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“The United States is one of the most technologically-advanced countries in the world, which also means we’re one of the most technologically-vulnerable countries in the world,” said Sen. Angus KingAngus KingElection hacking fears turn heat on Homeland Security Zinke hits Dems for delaying Interior nominees Angus King: I’m sure Flynn will 'appear before the committee one way or another' MORE (I-Maine), who introduced the bill with Sens. Martin HeinrichMartin HeinrichDems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity The Memo: Five takeaways from Jeff Sessions’s testimony Overnight Cybersecurity: Sessions denies Russia collusion | First agency gets 'A' grade on IT | Feds out North Korean botnet | Unusual security update for Windows XP MORE (D-N.M.), Jim RischJim RischBipartisan push to prioritize cyber advice for small businesses Five questions after Comey’s testimony Comey delivers dramatic rebuke of Trump MORE (R-Idaho) and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsHealthcare wish lists: What moderates, conservatives want Overnight Healthcare: GOP infighting erupts over bill | How Republican governors could bring down ObamaCare repeal | Schumer asks Trump to meet with Dems GOP infighting erupts over healthcare bill MORE (R-Maine.).

“Our legislation would reengineer the last-mile of the energy grid to isolate its most important systems, and in doing so, help defend it from a devastating blow that could cut off electricity to millions of people across the country,” he said.

The senators are calling their approach “retro.” They point to a cyberattack last year on Ukraine’s electrical grid, which they said caused significant damage but could have been worse if more technology were automated.

“As experts continue to tell us, it is not a matter of if a cyber attack aimed at our critical infrastructure occurs, but when,” said Collins. "This bill, along with other cybersecurity measures passed by Congress and under consideration before the Senate, can make a real contribution in strengthening our defenses against this dangerous threat.”