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Officials question FERC's critical infrastructure protection policies

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is unprepared to deal with a potential attack on critical infrastructure like the U.S. power supply, according to a report.

Bloomberg reports that FERC lacks the comprehensive legal authority to properly respond to such an incident. U.S. policymakers and industry analysts have long argued that the U.S. is ill-prepared to deal with such an event, but with the incidence of cyber attacks surging over the past decade, it is now a real national security threat, the news source reports.

The continued investment into the smart grid must be accompanied by proper critical infrastructure protection, FERC officials said. For example, when transmission lines and substations are updated, utilities should take care to ensure proper electronic substation cyber security protocols are in place, as well as other smart grid security measures.

Aside from not having proper cyber security policies in place, officials are concerned that because FERC's jurisdiction is limited to the continental U.S. and non-local distribution facilities, that states like Alaska and Hawaii, as well as local transmission and distribution centers, could be vulnerable to the cyber attacks. 

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The Complexities of Substation Cyber Security

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