According to reporting by Politico, there have been 101 physical and cyber attacks on equipment that delivers electricity nationwide just through August of 2022, which is . A A. The Global Positioning System (GPS): The grid is dependent on GPS timing to monitor and control generation, transmission, and distribution functions. EMP emits pulses of energy that can be emitted from the blast of a nuclear weapon, portable devices like high power microwave weapons (HPMWs). March 24, 2022. Twice this year, the Department of Homeland Security warned "a heightened threat environment" remains for the nation, including its critical infrastructure. These technologies are available for protecting the grid; it comes down to investment and leadership to ameliorate vulnerabilities. The energy industry is vulnerable. Fri 8 Apr 2022 // 07:58 UTC. As a starting point, the administration should be clear that an action against the grid would be treated as an armed attack and signal that a military response in or out of cyberspace would likely be required. Michael Assante, the former chief information security officer for NERC, argues that utilities should design their systems with backup tools that are either not connected to any information technology networks or are analog. The Moore County, NC grid attack on December 4, 2022. They know the grid is complex and they fear unintended consequences from abrupt changes. Post-Attack Measures. Solar storms are a different existential threat to address. While modernization planning focuses on new energy related technologies for distribution, resilience, storage, and capability, it is also focused on cybersecurity. America is a powerful country, but its power grid is vulnerable. Within weeks, the U.S. government would have confidence in its attribution. 2022; With increasing installations of grid-connected power electronic converters in the . During the prelude to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, multiple cyberattacks against Ukraine were recorded, as well as some attacks on Russia.The first major cyberattack took place on 14 January 2022, and took down more than a dozen of Ukraine's government websites. An abstract 3D render of a microprocessor on a circuit board with many electrical components [+] installed. As Southern California Edison expands the electric grid to support a clean energy future, a wide range of . It is here. A series of warning indicators would likely foretell a cyberattack on the U.S. power grid. Cybersecurity by design necessitates building agile systems with operational cyber-fusion to be able to monitor, recognize and respond to emerging threats. How the U.S. government reacts, more than the actual harm done, will determine whether the cyberattack has a continuing impact on geopolitics. But while large-scale operations have not . by James McBride Industrial Control Systems: The integration of cheaper and more widely available devices that use traditional networking protocols into industrial control systems has led to a larger cyberattack surface for the grids systems. Addressing this vulnerability is so important that we made it a priority recommendation for DOE to address. According to Chris Hurst, vice president of Value Engineering at OnSolve , emerging threats suggest additional protections may be needed, such as additional perimeter setbacks (where possible), removing sight lines, additional roving security and monitoring, and hardening protective barriers. The POWER Interview: Physical Attacks on the Grid Soared in 2022. . Annual Lecture on China. Chuck is also an Adjunct Faculty at Georgetown Universitys Graduate Cybersecurity Risk Management Program where he teaches courses on risk management, homeland security technologies, and cybersecurity. In developing its policy, the U.S. government should keep in mind that a strong policy against targeting U.S. systems could constrain U.S. military options to target foreign systems. Such an attack would require months of planning, significant resources, and a team with a broad range of expertise. The problem is that substations make easy soft targets and there are more than 55,000 connected to the grid in the US. The two men pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide . Payments for ransomwaremalicious software that encrypts data and will not provide a code to unlock it unless a ransom has been paidby some estimates have topped $300 million. If, on the other hand, the U.S. government shows firm resolve in the face of the attack and does not change its behavior in the interest of the attacker, the event is unlikely to have significant consequences for the role of the United States abroad. Humans in orbit are also very vulnerable to these events, whose high-energy particles are not shield by typical spacecraft. Total human-related incidents including vandalism, suspicious activity and cyber events are on track to be the highest since the reports started showing such activity in 2011. ( In 2013, still unknown assailants cut fiber-optic phone lines and used a sniper to fire shots at a Pacific Gas & Electric substation near San Jose in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack that caused millions of dollars in damage. At this level of damage, the American public would likely demand a forceful response, which could reshape U.S. geopolitical interests for decades. Russia could launch a devastating attack on the U.S. power grid. The U.S. electric grid faces significant cybersecurity risks from a variety of actors, including criminals, terrorists, "hacktivists," and foreign governments. DOE labs have also funded research projects on the specific cybersecurity needs of utilities. However, the experience of other countries and the technical reality of the internet suggest that these firewalls are ineffective for cybersecurity but well suited to restricting speech online and censoring information. In the same time period, forty-one weather events caused outages, affecting 5.2 million customers. Increased funding could be achieved through a user fee similar to the universal service fee on phone lines, though a new tax on consumers may not be politically feasible. As if cyber-attacks were not enough of a security concern, physical attacks by domestic terrorist on the U.S. Energy Grid are an increasing threat. What Can Be Done? Moreover, current federal requirements do not extend to power distribution, which is regulated unevenly at the state level. Even before Christmas Day attacks on power substations in five states in the Pacific Northwest and Southeast, similar incidents of attacks, vandalism and suspicious activitywere on the rise. When a CME hits Earth, it can cause a geomagnetic storm which disrupts the planet s magnetosphere, our radio transmissions and electrical power lines. Original: Mar 15, 2022. Reliable electricity is essential to the conveniences of modern life and vital to our nations economy and security. 7 April 2022. The country has inflicted malware on America in the past and might not be particularly concerned . Duke Energy workers repair an electrical substation that they said was hit by gunfire, near Pinehurst, North Carolina, on Tuesday. GAO found cybersecurity information sharing weak across the sector. . Adversaries may underestimate both the ability of the U.S. government to determine who carried out an attack and the seriousness with which such an attack would be addressed. The grid is vulnerable to cyberattacks that could cause catastrophic, widespread, and lengthy blackouts. A stronger E-ISAC and a strong DOE counterpart to support it are necessary. Domestic terrorists see the U.S. electric grid as a "particularly attractive target," according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security warning, raising fears of a physical attack on critical . Opioid addiction and abuse in the United States has become a prolonged epidemic, endangering public health, economic output, and national security. (, Will Vulnerable U.S. Electric Grid Get a New Protection Mandate? NERC reliability standards call for a risk-based approach in the implementation of physical security safeguards that include access Control, key cards, alarms, and roving security. He has an MA in International relations from the University of Chicago, a BA in Political Science from DePauw University, and a Certificate in International Law from The Hague Academy of International Law. Deterrent Measures. But the electricity grid is an attractive target for cyberattacks from U.S. adversariessuch as nations like China and Russia, as well as individual bad actors, such as insiders and criminals. Thus, securing these systems and detecting malicious activity should, in theory, be relatively simple. In 2016, the Department of Energy (DOE) received only three reports of cyber incidents at utilities; none of the incidents affected customers. It was formed to address the urgency of protecting energy critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks. It's not yet clear whether any of the attacks were coordinated. At least 20 actual physical attacks werereported, compared with sixin all of 2021. (Dakota News Now) - Attacks on the U.S. power grid increased in 2022, and local electric utility companies are preparing their security systems for any threats. Also, state actors, criminal gangs, and other attackers are homing in on energy critical infrastructure. Short of outright conflict with a state adversary, several plausible scenarios in which the U.S. power grid would be subject to cyberattack need to be considered: There are many plausible circumstances in which states that possess the capability to conduct cyberattacks on the U.S. power gridprincipally Russia and China, and potentially Iran and North Koreacould contemplate such action for the reasons elaborated above. A security guard standing inside a commercial building nearby the window reflecting light. The White House would set the public posture for the response. It is doubtful that a terrorist organization would have both the intent and means to carry out such an attack successfully. How the U.S. government reacts will determine whether a cyberattack has a continuing impact on geopolitics. Some of those include: shielding and hardening targetsgrid protection by protecting against surges and voltage; decentralization and employment of off-grid or distributed-grid networks; phased voltage stabilization systems and resistors for redirecting and balancing energy; mandating enhanced security standards, training and contingency planning, and establishing mechanisms for sharing information on vulnerabilities and threats. Risk managers at utilities will argue that they must balance the possibility of a cyberattack against the near certainty that weather events will affect their customers. Any of the systems principal elementspower generation, transmission, or distributioncould be targeted for a cyberattack. The deterrence policy should articulate how the administration would view an attack on the power grid and should outline possible response options. Utility groups maintain an expansive attack surface, as by nature, the infrastructure is geographically distributed. You can cause a ripple effect where one outage can cause an entire seaboard to go down., The Associated Press contributed to this report, FBI joins investigation into attack on North Carolina power grid, Original reporting and incisive analysis, direct from the Guardian every morning, 2023 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. Ukraine has been hit by a "massive" cyber-attack, . A record number of attacks on electrical grids plunged thousands of Americans into darkness last year, as authorities worry neo-Nazis are targeting critical . The U.S. power grid has long been considered a logical target for a major cyberattack. This is good news as both government and industry need to better collaborate in the energy sector and focus on cybersecurity. Based on data from DOE, physical attacks on the grid rose 77% in 2022. NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / April 27, 2023 / Edison International. Experts and intelligence analysts have long warned of both the vulnerability of the US power grid and talk among extremists about attacking the crucial infrastructure. Renewing America, Stopping Illegal Gun Trafficking Through South Florida, Blog Post For example, and similar to the above, the standards do not include a full assessment of cybersecurity risks to the grid. A string of attacks on power facilities in Oregon and Washington has . The average top-tier utility plant maintains a . Doing so would also reduce the likelihood of the grid becoming a military target. Together with continually demonstrating law enforcement and intelligence capabilities to attribute the sources of cyberattacks, a strong statement on deterrence could do more than anything else to prevent an attack on the grid. November 4, 2022 More than a dozen cases of vandalism have been reported since September. [These attacks] are a real threat.. Power companies use Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) networks to control their industrial systems and many of these SCADA networks need to be updated and hardened to meet growing cybersecurity threats. with Ivan Kanapathy, Bonny Lin and Stephen S. Roach Sectors such as finance and the defense industrial base have developed strong information sharing practices with government support. These events, CMEs for [+] short, are powerful releases of solar charged particles (plasma) and magnetic field, travelling on the solar wind. US energy industry faces imminent cyber security threat. This problem has not been corrected with the latest generation of smart grid technologies; the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that these devices often lack the ability to authenticate administrators and cannot maintain activity logs necessary for forensic analysis, among other deficiencies. WASHINGTON Ukrainian officials said on Tuesday that they had thwarted a Russian cyberattack on Ukraine's power grid that could have knocked out power to two million people . Components are labelled with random serial numbers, with many connections glowing in yellow color too. NIST will address these challenges through research conducted in the NIST Smart Grid Testbed facility and leadership within the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) Cybersecurity Committee (SGCC) to evaluate of cybersecurity policies and measures in industry standards, and development of relevant guidance documents for the smart grid cybersecurity community. Cybersecurity for Smart Grid Systems | NIST, The fact is that cyber-attacks are evolving in sophistication enabled by artificial intelligence. Example of an Attacker Compromising High-Wattage Networked Consumer Devices. In the future, however, criminal groups could pose a real threat. The grid is under attack. The gaps for cyber -attackers have been recognized by government and industry. By Grant Asplund, Cyber Security Evangelist, Check Point Software.

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