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 KingGOP moves to cut debate time for Trump nominees Overnight Defense: New allegations against VA nominee | Pompeo vote set for Thursday | Work begins on defense policy bill | Measures push space corps, pay bump for troops Pompeo set to be confirmed on Thursday MORE (I-Maine), who introduced the bill with Sens. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Cybersecurity: DHS cyber nominee vows to make election security 'top priority' | CIA to allow lawmakers to review classified info on Haspel | Dems raise security concerns about Trump's phone use CIA will allow senators to review classified material on Haspel Trump’s CIA pick facing brutal confirmation fight MORE (D-N.M.), Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischGOP anxiety grows over Trump’s Iran decision Changing the rules won't fix congressional dysfunction Senate approves .3 trillion spending bill, sending to Trump MORE (R-Idaho) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP moves to cut debate time for Trump nominees GOP senator: 'We were there' on immigration before talks got derailed GOP advances proposal to change Senate rules 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.”