A Government Accountability Office report found the U.S. electrical grid's distribution systems to be at an increased risk for cyberattacks, "in part due to the introduction of and reliance on monitoring and control technologies," according to The Hill.
The scale of potential impacts from such attacks is not well understood, GAO noted, adding that the Department of Energy's cybersecurity strategy does not adequately address the risks faced by distribution networks that are related to supply chains.
The report further notes that a cyberattack could affect the whole country depending on the affected distribution network, such as causing "outages in multiple areas even if it did not disrupt the bulk power system, according to officials from one national laboratory."
The GAO report urges the DOE secretary to coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security, state officials and industry stakeholders in order to devise a plan on how to prevent distribution system risks.
Jill Aitoro is senior vice president of content strategy for CyberRisk Alliance. She has more than 20 years of experience editing and reporting on technology, business and policy. Prior to joining CRA, she worked at Sightline Media as editor of Defense News and executive editor of the Business-to-Government Group. She previously worked at Washington Business Journal and Nextgov, covering federal technology, contracting and policy, as well as CMP Media’s VARBusiness and CRN and Penton Media’s iSeries News.