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Pentagon officials: Smart grid security essential to national security

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Just this past week, U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin reported that it was the subject of a sophisticated hacking attempt on its computer system, illustrating the very real threat that cyber criminals pose. This week, reports surfaced that the Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage by another country would constitute an act of war.

MSNBC reports that senior officials told the news service that critical infrastructure protection measures are essential as the U.S. fights off an onslaught of foreign - and domestic for that matter - cyber attacks on critical infrastructure and other important classified information. To be considered an act of war, the military and Obama administration officials said they had to pose a threat to American lives, infrastructure or commerce.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the 30-page strategy will become available in June, but many analysts are already buzzing about the report's far-reaching consequences. It is undeniable that the findings from the officials will have ramifications that will be felt in electronic substation cyber security and other components of smart grid security.

The report will give an overview of what analysts are calling the first official cyber strategy from the Pentagon. In candid remarks, one military official told the WSJ that the repercussions of attacking critical infrastructure in the U.S. could be far more than other countries bargained for.

"If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks," the official warned.

What's more, the success the Stuxnet worm had in taking out more than 20 percent of Iran's nuclear power program sparked governments across the globe to more closely examine their cybersecurity protocols as fears are stoked from a nameless, faceless threat.

The heightened attention paid to critical infrastructure protection has prompted calls from industry watchers for improved cyber security protocols for smart grid operators. Many analysts assert that smart grid security measures have failed to mature and evolve as investment into the development of the smart grid has surged over the past decade.

For example, some industry watchers contend substation security is at risk because many grid operators have failed to invest in substation equipment that is equipped with the most up-to-date protections.

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The Complexities of Substation Cyber Security

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