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U.S. Electric Grid Under Cyberattack

By Phill Feltham

Taking a stand against threats to ensure reliability

BY JOHN FINNIGAN, Environmental Defense Fund

If Ben Franklin lived today, he might say that nothing is certain but death, taxes, and cyberattacks. The U.S. electric grid is under constant cyberattack, according to a survey of electric utilities by U.S. House Representatives Henry Waxman and (now Senator) Edward Markey.

The grid was the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th Century, but cybersecurity was as unknown to those grid engineers as it was to Ben Franklin. Regulators and utilities need to act further to protect our energy infrastructure.

A cyberattack on the grid could have devastating consequences. A 2012 study by the National Academy of Sciences reported that a terrorist attack on the grid could disrupt bulk power service for months, causing widespread panic and hundreds of billions of dollars in economic loss.

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