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 KingLobbying World Dems have new moniker for Trump: ‘Unindicted co-conspirator' Maine senator calls impeachment 'last resort': 'We may get there, but we’re not there now' MORE (I-Maine), who introduced the bill with Sens. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichManchin’s likely senior role on key energy panel rankles progressives Senate panel advances Trump’s energy nominee despite Dem objections Dems wonder if Sherrod Brown could be their magic man MORE (D-N.M.), Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischCongress digs in for prolonged Saudi battle Pence, Kushner huddle with Senate GOP on criminal justice reform Congress can save arms control MORE (R-Idaho) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsLobbying World Senators want assurances from attorney general pick on fate of Mueller probe 5 themes to watch for in 2020 fight for House 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.”