Lawmakers look to ‘dumb down’ smart grid


Lawmakers are taking a look at legislation to improve cybersecurity in critical infrastructure by dumbing down the nation’s smart grid.

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources’ subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on the Securing Energy Infrastructure Act next Tuesday, July 12, at 2:30 p.m.

The bill instructs the National Laboratories to explore replacing critical computer-connected components that regulate power plants and electric grids with analogue ones. With fewer computerized components, there would be fewer high-value targets to hack, supporters say.

The measure was proposed by Senate Intelligence committee members including Sens. Angus King (I-Maine), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

“National security officials and cyber-experts have repeatedly warned us about the dangerous impact a cyber-attack could have on major components of our national infrastructure, like our electric grid,” said Sen. King in a press release.

“That’s why it’s critical that we move now to examine ways to strengthen our defenses and why I am pleased the Subcommittee on Energy has agreed to take up our legislation next week.” 

When the bill was first proposed, the senators noted that the dumb technology approach aided Ukraine during a recent attack on its grid.

The attack, they said, would have been worse had Ukraine connected more components of its electrical infrastructure to computers.


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