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U.S. to assess cyber risk to utilities

Jan. 6, 2012 at 10:51 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Departments of Energy and Homeland Security said they were working with utility companies to protect the electrical grid from cyberattacks.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the initiative will consider insight provided by private industry and public sector experts to assess ways to better secure the nation's electrical grid.

"This initiative is another important step forward in improving the security of the nation's energy infrastructure and ensuring that the country's electrical systems remain secure, reliable and resilient," he said.

The initiative outlined by Chu calls for a series of workshops to measure capabilities and analyze shortfalls in the ability to address cyberthreats to the grid.

Howard Schmidt, cybersecurity coordinator for the White House, said the new initiative would focus on performance-based strategies to measure the progress of cybersecurity.

"It is important to understand the sector's strengths and remaining gaps across the grid to inform investment planning and research and development and enhance our public-private partnership efforts," he said in a statement.

More than a dozen grid and electricity companies are expected to take part in the cybersecurity program.

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