Thursday, April 30, 2009

SCADA Watch: Critics Say Bill to Protect Electric Grid from Cyber Attacks Lacks Teeth

Jill R. Aitoro writes on

A bill [.pdf] expected to be introduced in the House and Senate this week would help protect the computers that control the country's power grid, but it does not go far enough, security experts said on Wednesday.

The legislation would give federal regulatory agencies more power, but would not prompt owners and operators of electrical facilities to do their part to enhance cybersecurity, critics said. The bill also should be expanded to address other components of the nation's critical infrastructure, such as transportation and water, they added.

The measure -- which represents a joint effort by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. -- would amend the 1935 Federal Power Act to provide "additional legal authorities to adequately protect the critical electric infrastructure against cyberattack." It would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which administers security standards for most of the nation's power plants, to establish within 120 days of its enactment interim cybersecurity standards to replace existing guidelines deemed inadequate.

The legislative effort follows a report earlier this month that intelligence officials discovered malicious software on computers that control the nation's power grid.

More here.


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