Protecting the nation's electric grid from cyber attacks is imperative, but a lack of standards and a designated federal agency to handle the issue could hamper progress, according to a new study.
"With rapidly expanding connectivity and rapidly evolving threats, making the grid invulnerable to cyber events is impossible, [but] improving resilience to attacks and reducing the impact of attacks are important," according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The 268-page report focuses on the future of the electric grid, with a chapter on cybersecurity efforts.
"Much as cybersecurity was not a key factor in the design of the Internet, cybersecurity has not been a high priority—until recently—in designing grid components," researchers concluded.
It's not cheap to secure the grid, however. A 2011 report from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimated that it would take at least $3.7 billion to secure grid cybersecurity. Trouble is, "the probability of a serious event is still very low," so it's difficult to get businesses to invest in grid cyber efforts.
That could change as more and more devices come on to the grid, and consumers turn to generating their own electricity via fuel cells, wind turbines, solar roofs, and the like.
According to McAffee CTO George Kurtz the cyber-attacks that occurred in January targed a small number of employees who controlled source code management systems. These source code management systems handle the myriad changes that developers make as they write software, the breach of which can have a cascade effect across multiple levels of Google and as many as 30 other business targeted in the January attacks. Aside from being awesome and using ‘cyber-attack’ in a sentence, I also have some valuable source-code for sale at rock-bottom prices; check out my store at ‘CyberNinjaAssassinCassanova138’ on eBay.
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