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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 Stanley KingSen. King: Releasing memo would be ’reckless,’ ‘could expose sources’ The Hill's 12:30 Report Azar sworn in as HHS chief MORE (I-Maine), who introduced the bill with Sens. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichLawmakers scold Trump official over Pacific island trust fund Dem senators tell Trump he doesn’t have ‘legal authority’ to launch preemptive strike on North Korea Overnight Energy: Trump signs solar tariffs | Energy official say ‘bomb cyclone’ justifies coal push | Trump chemical safety pick leaving EPA MORE (D-N.M.), Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischSenate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA Government needs to help small businesses follow regulations McConnell works to salvage tax bill MORE (R-Idaho) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration GOP senators turning Trump immigration framework into legislation Longtime Clinton confidant blames Comey for 2016 loss 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.”