Incident Response, TDR

NERC unveils cybersecurity plan

A new response plan for threats to the national power grid is in the works.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), has announced plans for improving grid reliability by enabling faster and more effective action to protect critical assets from cyber or physical threats.

"Cybersecurity is a critical component of grid reliability, but is, by its nature, fundamentally different from any other reliability concern we currently address through our standards, analysis, or enforcement programs," said NERC's president and chief executive officer, Rick Sergel, in a statement. "It therefore requires a different approach; one that allows for more expedient treatment of critical information, urgent action on standards, and more thorough threat analysis and risk assessment."

Specific actions NERC plans to take include appointing a chief security officer, who will serve as the single point of contact for the industry and government regulators and stakeholders; establishing a task force to review a standard setting process for cybersecurity; reviewing existing standards and organizing cybersecurity briefings for senior-level utility executives.

These actions arise in part from NERC's recent criticisms from the U.S. House Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology.

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