The U.S. Department of Energy has raised serious concerns regarding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the U.S. energy grid in its Quadrennial Energy Review. Chapter IV of the Review (which begins on its 272nd page) “addresses a range of possible risks to the electricity system and the broader economy, and it suggests options to mitigate and prepare for these risks.”
The Review paints an ominous picture of the cybersecurity challenges on the horizon for those protecting the grid, stating:
In the current environment, the U.S. grid faces imminent danger from cyber attacks. Widespread disruption of electric service because of a transmission failure initiated by a cyber attack at various points of entry could undermine U.S. lifeline networks, critical defense infrastructure, and much of the economy; it could also endanger the health and safety of millions of citizens. Also, natural gas plays an increasingly important role as fuel for the Nation’s electricity system; a gas pipeline outage or malfunction due to a cyber attack could affect not only pipeline and related infrastructures, but also the reliability of the Nation’s electricity system.
Several recommendations are made to policymakers with respect to how means to address these challenges, including:
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