In a post on the official White House blog, Howard Schmidt, the Obama administration's cybersecurity coordinator, outlined the importance of protecting the country's electrical grid from a cyberattack. Doing so will not only having an impact on national security, but also on the state of America's economic well being.
That's why cybersecurity initiatives to protect the nation's electricity supply and infrastructure were recently included in the White House's Policy Framework for a 21st Century Grid. In fact, data security was one of four key themes outlined in the policy framework, which was issued in June.
"A critical part of such an effort is to identify and prioritize relevant cyber risks – including malware, compromised devices, insider threats, hijacked systems, etc. – and develop standards and guidelines that enable the design of effective mitigation plans for managing those risks," the framework report stated.
Judging by the latest blog post, it now appears that the the Obama administration is working to promote its plan for electric security with leaders within the industry. According to Schmidt, he, Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman and officials from the Department of Homeland Security recently met to discuss new data security plans.
Called the Electric Sector Cybersecurity Risk Maturity Model Pilot, the program will allow the government to determine the grid's cybersecurity preparedness, as well as identify any areas that require attention. The initiative will be carried out as a joint effort between the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security along with the White House.
"Gaining knowledge about strengths and remaining gaps across the grid will better inform investment planning and research and development, and enhance our public-private partnership efforts," Schmidt wrote for the White House blog.
Added Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, "Establishing a comprehensive cybersecurity approach will give utility companies and grid operators another important tool to improve the grid’s ability to respond to cybersecurity risks."
As improvements to the existing electric system are taking place, many industry stakeholders have an eye on one day moving to the smart grid, which promises better efficiency and a cutting-edge infrastructure. But even the smart grid has Internet security vulnerabilities, according to a recent CIO magazine report. The magazine acknowledged that awareness in this area is increasing, but vendors and utilities alike are a long way from solving the problem.
Data Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro