Automated US Power grids to be replaced by manual systems to limit Cyber Attacks

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All these days we all were proud of automation and the bouquet of benefits it brings to mankind. But here’s a news piece which might brush up your minds with a new notion.

The US Senate has decided to replace the automated power grid control systems with manual ones in order to limit repercussions raised from cyberattacks launched by US adversaries like Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

Here the idea is to use the ‘retro’ technology where human operators will be engaged in controlling the power grid operations across the United States in order to cut down cyber risks associated with cyber attacks.

“Aim is to replace automated control systems with low tech redundancies controlled by human operators”, said Angus King and Jim Risch- both Senators from Maine and Idaho. This approach will help in thwarting the most sophisticated attacks launched by cyber adversaries who intend to take control of a grid with malicious intentions.

Securing Energy Infrastructure Act (SEIA) is the bill which was passed by the Senate floor last week and is said to receive a full grade approval soon from the US House of Representatives, as a part of National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.

SEIA bill when passed will pave way for a 2-year pilot program taken up by the National Laboratories to study electrical grid operations and vulnerabilities which expose them to cyber attacks.

Note 1- As the cyber threat landscape seems to be ever evolving between the US and its adversaries, the SEIA was crafted by taking inspiration from the 2015 Cyber Attack on Ukraine’s power grid where Russian hackers were suspected to have launched a cyber attack on the grid impacting more than 225,000 Ukrainians staying in dark on the eve of Christmas 2015.

Note 2- Remember all these tactics are being employed after US cyber attacked Iran’s military assets on a digital note a few days ago.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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