WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Energy said as much as $20 million was available for researchers to examine ways to protect the energy sector from cyberattacks.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the funding would target the development of tools and technology to protect delivery systems for oil, natural gas and electricity from cyberattacks.
"By developing new cybersecurity tools and technologies specifically designed for the needs of the energy sector, utilities and industry will be better equipped to protect against and respond to cyberthreats," Chu said in a statement.
U.S. President Barack Obama, during his State of the Union address last week, said cybersecurity was a national priority. Obama recently signed an executive order meant to increase the protection of critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity company Mandiant this week published a report saying the Chinese military may be tied to cyberattacks targeting U.S. computer networks. Beijing denied the allegations and a commentary in state-run news agency Xinhua suggested Mandiant's report was a publicity stunt.