Legislation to Protect Energy Grid Advances

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The Senate this week passed a bill that aims to fortify the energy infrastructure and protect it from hackers.  

The Securing Energy Infrastructure Act was introduced by Sens. Angus King, I-Maine, and Jim Risch, R-Idaho, in the previous Congress. The legislation would create public-private partnerships to use engineering concepts to remove weaknesses that would leave the door open to hackers to access the grid. The bill would explore how automated systems could be replaced with low-tech redundancies such as manual procedures controlled by humans. 

Additionally, the bill creates a pilot program within the National Laboratories to study covered entities and identify new classes of security bugs, and research and test technology that could be used to isolate the most critical systems of covered entities from cyberattacks. Under the legislation, a working group would assess the technology proposed by the labs and develop a national strategy to isolate the energy grid from attacks.

Finally, the legislation would require the energy secretary to send Congress a report detailing the results of the program, assessing the viability of the techniques considered, and outlining the results of the working group’ evaluation.

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