Critical Infrastructure Security, Network Security, Threat Management

Lawmaker says attack against power grid will happen

The likelihood of a crippling cyberattack against the U.S. electric gird is 100 percent, a congresswoman said Wednesday at SC World Congress in New York.

People should no longer question whether such an incident could happen but recognize that it is inevitable, said Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., during an evening keynote.

"The likelihood of a cyberattack bringing down our grid is 100 percent," Clarke said.

The Northeast blackout of 2003 knocked out power to approximately 50 million people, caused 11 deaths and $6 billion in damages all in less than 48 hours. Imagine the type of damage that would result from a nationwide blackout lasting for weeks, she said.

Clarke, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Chair of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and Technology, said progress has been made to protect the electric grid. However, the government cannot do it alone, she said.

Establishing robust security practices to protect the electric grid requires a joint effort between the government and private sectors, Clarke said. Those in the private sector should reach out to their counterparts in government to devise ways to protect the cyber infrastructure.

“Our hope is that we can be more proactive in addressing the vulnerability and defend our nation against attacks against our critical infrastructure,” she said.

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