Some US Utilities Say They’re Under Constant Cyber Attack

By on May 22, 2013
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Several power utilities say they face a barrage of cyber attacks on their critical systems, a report by two Democratic lawmakers found echoing warnings from the Obama administration that foreign hackers were trying to bring down the U.S. power grid.

California Representative Henry Waxman released the report, co-authored with Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey, at the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s cybersecurity hearing on Tuesday.

The pair asked some 160 utilities to describe their experiences fighting cyber attacks over the past five years. In response, more than a dozen said they experienced daily, constant or frequent attempted cyber attacks, according to a 35-page report summarizing their responses.

But utilities termed the report as overblown, saying their systems were adequately protected through mandatory standards set by the North American Electric Reliability Corp (NERC) that ensure separation of control systems and consumer-facing or administrative networks.

“The majority of those attacks, while large in number, are the same attacks that every business receives” through web-connected networks, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation Chief Executive Duane Highley told the hearing.

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