‘Google Era’ Electric Grid More Vulnerable Than Ever

Dan Verton | FedScoop | July 15, 2014

A new report released Tuesday by a group of national security experts calls on Congress to immediately pass legislation that would enable real-time information sharing between the government and the private sector on cyber threats to the nation’s electric grid.  The report by the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress — led by former White House Chief of Staff Thomas McLarty III and former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge — traces in great detail the technological changes fundamentally transforming the electric industry and warns those same technologies are creating new vulnerabilities for the “most critical of critical infrastructure” in the nation.

“Paradoxically, as the grid is increasingly networked—thus increasing efficiency and overall situational awareness—it becomes increasingly vulnerable to intrusions from cyberspace,” the report states. “As smart grid technologies are installed, there will be a greater number of access points to the grid networks, requiring increased security awareness by utilities, device manufacturers, and the general public.”

“The grid is moving from the Edison era into the Google era,” Dan Mahaffee, the project co-director, said during a press conference Tuesday. “How do we secure a grid that is having new technology attached to it? We’re creating a broad amount of new threat vectors into critical infrastructure installing this technology...