WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2019 – Protect Our Power Executive Director Jim Cunningham issued the following statement on October’s designation as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Protect Our Power is a national not-for-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen the reliability and resilience of the U.S. electric grid.

“Serious threats to America’s infrastructure, particularly to the electric grid, have grown significantly in recent years. Virtually every facet of our society and our economy is dependent upon reliable electricity supplies. This encompasses the electronic devices we hold in our hands, necessities such as the lights, refrigerators and heating systems that make our homes livable, the businesses that power our economy and the treatment plants that purify our drinking water.

“While we don’t see graphic images flashing across television screens, the harsh reality is that our nation is under attack. Cyberattacks against vital elements of our critical infrastructure occur by the thousands on a daily basis. In the electric sector, we continue to discover that successful intrusions compromising industrial control systems and disrupting the ability of digital systems to communicate with one another are taking place.

“As individual citizens, and as a nation, it is vital that we rise to the challenge and meet this growing threat head-on. For its part, Protect Our Power is meeting with elected and regulatory officials at the national and state levels to raise awareness of systemic hurdles and potential solutions. We have commissioned studies to identify gaps in state regulatory policies as well as supply chain vulnerabilities. And we have launched a Best Practices in Utility Cybersecurity project to strengthen the ability of key players throughout the electric sector to implement protective measures that go above and beyond standards of compliance.

“Only days ago, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report on the cybersecurity of America’s electric grid. The report concludes that bad actors are ‘increasingly capable’ of attacking the grid and that, more ominously, the scale of power outages that may result from a cyberattack remains uncertain.

“National Cybersecurity Awareness Month provides a tremendous opportunity for our nation to increase the urgency with which we respond to the threat that cyberattacks pose to our infrastructure, our economy and the American people.”

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Steve Kerekes
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