Senate passes King bill to secure energy grid

The Securing Energy Infrastructure Act that passed the Senate late last week would shore up the energy grid through collaboration with private industry to remove vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.

“Our connectivity is a strength that, if left unprotected, can be exploited as a weakness,” according to a release from Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, who introduced the bill along with Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho. “This bill takes vital steps to improve our defenses, so the energy grid that powers our lives is not open to devastating attacks launched from across the globe.”

If the bill becomes law, it would create a two-year pilot program at the National Laboratories to explore new classes of vulnerabilities as well as study and test analog devices and other technology entities could use to isolate critical systems from cyberattacks. It would also mandate a working group made up of representatives from federal government agencies, the energy industry, a state or regional energy agency, the National Laboratories and other groups to assess technology solutions offered by the National Laboratories and come up with a plan to isolate the grid from attacks.

The legislation seeks to define covered entities “as segments of the energy sector that have already been designated as entities where a cyber-security incident could result in catastrophic regional or national effects on public health or safety, economic security, or national security,” the release said.

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