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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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American Grid System Gears Up For Cybersecurity Upgrade

The American grid system is getting a cybersecurity upgrade, a new Reuters article reports.

The Department of Energy announced a program on Wednesday to protect the nation’s power grid from cyberattacks and natural disasters.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the DOE “plays a vital role in protecting our nation’s energy infrastructure from cyber threats, physical attack and natural disaster, and as secretary, I have no higher priority.”

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President Donald Trump’s new budget proposal increases allocations for the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response by $96 million.

Last July, hackers targeted power plants that supplied energy to administrative and business networks. The DOE helped the plants defend against the attack, which did not result in any notable effect on electricity generation.

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The FERC told the National Energy Regulatory Commission last year “to develop modifications to provide clear, objective criteria for electronic access controls for low-impact cyber systems and to address the need to mitigate the risk of malicious code that could result from third-party transient electronic devices. These modifications will address potential gaps and improve the cyber security posture of entities that must comply with the CIP standards.”

Cybersecurity isn’t just an issue for American energy facilities. An analysis of data collected from 134 countries by the International Telecommunication Union revealed that some of the world’s biggest oil producers, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran, and the UAE, are lacking in the cybersecurity department. According to The Fuse, ''Countries that rank low in cyber readiness account for more than 44 million barrels per day (mbd), approximately 45 percent of the world’s daily oil production''.

This means that, compared to European producers and the United States, large OPEC members are pretty much unprepared for a major cyberthreat.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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