Trump Orders Preparation for Electric Grid Cyber Attacks

Saturday, May 13, 2017
By Paul Martin

Policy upgrade comes as threats to infrastructure increase

BY: Bill Gertz
FreeBeacon.com
May 12, 2017

President Trump ordered the federal government to prepare for a devastating cyber attack against America’s electric grid amid growing fears foreign states are set to carry out attacks aimed at plunging the nation into darkness.

A presidential order signed Thursday directed key federal agencies to assess preparations for a prolonged power outage resulting from cyber attacks designed to disrupt the power grid.

An assessment of the danger must be carried out by the Energy Department, Homeland Security, DNI and state and local governments to examine the readiness of the United State to manage a shutdown of the power grid. The assessment will also identify gaps and shortcomings in efforts that would be used restore power.

New cyber security measures outlined in the executive order come as the commander of Cyber Command warned two days earlier that America’s critical infrastructure is vulnerable to disruption by foreign cyber attacks.

Cyber command chief Adm. Mike Rogers said several nations, including Iran, have been tied to disruptions and remote intrusions into U.S. critical infrastructures, such as the electric grid, financial networks, and others.

Rogers said destructive cyber attacks on critical infrastructure are one of his two worst case scenarios. The second involves the threat of cyber intrusions aimed at manipulating data within networks.

Iran tried to disrupt the function of a dam in upstate New York in 2013, and Russia has used industrial control malware called BlackEnergy to attack Ukraine’s electric grid, Rogers said.

“Infiltrations in U.S. critical infrastructure—when viewed in the light of incidents like these—can look like preparations for future attacks that could be intended to harm Americans, or at least to deter the United States and other countries from protecting and defending our vital interests,” Rogers said.

The report on electric grid cyber attacks must be provided to the White House by Aug. 9.

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