Energy Department invests $12 million in cyber technology

Department of Energy
Greg Nash

The Department of Energy announced on Thursday that the agency is investing $12 million in cybersecurity innovations aimed at protecting critical infrastructure, including the energy sector.

The investment will fund six university-led projects that will focus on the research, development and demonstrations of new cyber technology that will help advance data-related fields such as anomaly detection, artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

The schools receiving the funding are Florida International University, Iowa State University, New York University, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, University of Illinois in Chicago and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

“Investing in cutting-edge cyber security technology keeps us at the forefront of global innovation and protects America’s power grid in the face of increasing cyber threats from abroad,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. 

“This funding will bolster our commitment to a secure and resilient clean energy future by fortifying American electricity systems and building a stronger grid,” she added. 

The agency’s announcement coincides with a cybersecurity bill introduced the same day by House lawmakers. 

The legislation, intended to protect the energy sector, would create a grant program within the Department of Energy that would fund graduate students and postdoctoral researchers studying cybersecurity and energy infrastructure. 

The government initiatives come amid heightened security and warnings from U.S. and foreign agencies urging critical infrastructure to strengthen their cyber defenses, particularly against possible Russian cyberattacks. 

“No issue keeps me up at night more than our nation’s cyber vulnerabilities — especially those that may exist within the critical infrastructure sectors that power our nation,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a statement.

Tags critical infrastructure cyberattacks cybersecurity cybersecurity Department of Energy Energy Department Jennifer Granholm Mark Warner

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