WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Energy Department said it handed out approximately $30 million in awards to companies working on cybersecurity strategies for the energy sector.
Projects in eight states will support the Energy Department's efforts to protect the U.S. electrical grid, as well as oil and natural gas infrastructure, from a cyberattack.
"Keeping the nation's energy flowing is vital to the safety and well-being of Americans, our economic prosperity, and modern society as a whole," Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement Thursday.
Moniz said the awards are part of a roadmap designed to add more security to the national energy delivery system during the next decade.
U.S. defense officials have said cyberattacks and cybersecurity were emerging alongside terrorism as top national security concerns. The Defense Department has accused China of targeting its computers, an allegation Beijing denies.
California company Viasat gets the largest award from the Energy Department. Its $3.3 million project is meant to give utility companies the technology needed to respond automatically to cyberattacks.