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Report: Grave Warning For US Energy Infrastructure

The United States’ energy infrastructure are susceptible to cyberthreats from Russia and China, a new report shows from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), cited by CNBC.

Russia, the ODNI reports, now has the ability to shut down power and energy companies, and has been testing US infrastructure in an attempt to determine weaknesses. Russia has already successfully disrupted Ukraine’s electrical distribution network in 2015, and has already penetrated US energy infrastructure in the past, according to US officials, including a nuclear power company.  The NSA in 2017 pointed fingers at Russia’s FSB, claiming it had already targeted US energy firms. 

China, who the ODNI sees as the United States’ top cyberthreat, also has the ability to disrupt critical infrastructure, such as natural gas or oil pipelines, for days or even weeks.

Further cyber threats are posed by Iran and North Korea, the report claims, with Iran successfully infiltrating Saudi governmental networks in 2016 and 2017.

The report was provided during the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence community on Tuesday. Proposals to shore up the cybersecurity pitfalls included Senators Mark Warner (D-Va) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla) Office of Critical Technologies and Security, an agency that would, if created, educate business leaders about the potential dangers of relying on foreign technology and products, such as the Huawei debacle, over which the US Justice Department levied fraud charges on Monday.

Researchers from Texas A&M scored a Department of Energy grant just weeks ago aimed at improving US cybersecurity in the wake of such abysmal assessments on the nation’s energy security. The research will focus on development and demonstrating “next-generation tools and technologies to improve the cybersecurity and resilience of the nation’s critical energy infrastructure, including the electric grid and oil and natural gas infrastructure,” according to Texas A&M Today.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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