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 KingSenate confirms No. 2 spot at HHS, days after Price resigns Overnight Defense: Mattis offers support for Iran deal | McCain blocks nominees over Afghanistan strategy | Trump, Tillerson spilt raises new questions about N. Korea policy Mattis: Staying in Iran deal is of US national security interest MORE (I-Maine), who introduced the bill with Sens. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichThe Hill's 12:30 Report New Mexico Gov: GOP health care bill 'still needs some work' Dems ask FEC to create new rules in response to Russian Facebook ads MORE (D-N.M.), Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischRubio won't challenge colleague for Foreign Relations gavel Senate approves Trump's debt deal with Democrats Overnight Cybersecurity: Mueller impanels grand jury in Russia probe | Researcher who helped stop WannaCry attack detained | Audit finds OPM systems still at risk MORE (R-Idaho) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGun proposal picks up GOP support Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns Agricultural trade demands investment in MAP and FMD 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.”