GAIN Strategic Advisor Brigham McCown recently wrote an op-ed featured in Forbes addressing cybersecurity threats as they relate to energy infrastructure. It has been brought to the attention of our policymakers that critical infrastructure could be an attractive target for entities seeking to cause harm to the U.S. The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee recently held a hearing to review how energy is transported, the infrastructure that is available, and how to best maintain a secure electrical grid. As McCown writes:
Recognizing the importance of cybersecurity’s role in the reliability of our nation’s critical energy infrastructure is of utmost importance, something many companies have already acknowledged. Hardening facilities against physical intrusion, providing barriers to electronic entry, and early detection and monitoring are all at the forefront.
The hearing also highlighted the importance of maintaining a strong natural gas market. Natural gas is key to American energy, and pipelines play a critical role in delivering product. Considering pipelines are the most efficient and affordable method of transport for natural gas and NGLs, energy companies have already taken numerous measures to strengthen physical security and protect infrastructure from cyber-attacks. In cooperation with the federal government, pipeline operators already share cyber threat intelligence with each other in an effort to prevent any potential incidents. Public-private partnerships have helped to maintain cyber defense programs for years. For example, The Department of Energy is making $25 million in grant funding for projects that bolster grid resiliency and cybersecurity.
However, this effort is never complete. The Senate committee will review current procedures to ensure both the private sector and government non-profits are using resources as effectively as possible in order to remain proactive and vigilant to potential cyber threats. As McCown concludes:
While threats constantly evolve, the energy industry and the federal government both appear to be better situated to deal with current and emerging threats than they would have been just a few years ago. Hardening the critical infrastructure responsible for providing power must be an ongoing effort.
To read the full op-ed, click here