GRAND LEDGE – Over the past several months, alarm bells have been going off regarding potential attacks against the U.S. electrical grid. Consider these recent media headlines:

The Wall Street Journal: Cyberattacks Raise Alarm for U.S. Power Grid — Excerpt: “Cyberattacks that have knocked out electric utilities in Ukraine, including one suspected hack earlier this month, have renewed concern that computer criminals could take down portions of the U.S. power grid.”

U.S. News & World Report: Cybersecurity of the Power Grid: A Growing Challenge — Excerpt: “Until 2015, the threat was hypothetical. But now we know cyberattacks can penetrate electricity grid control networks, shutting down power to large numbers of people. It happened in Ukraine in 2015 and again in 2016, and it could happen here in the U.S., too.”

BuzzFeed News: Here’s Why Trump Takes The Blackout Doomsday Scenario Seriously — Excerpt: “The Obama administration’s Energy Department announced $3.9 billion in ‘smart grid’ funding available to the nation’s utilities in 2009, largely for upgrades to defeat normal blackouts and permit home meters to talk back to power companies, but these EMP hawks still warn the overall grid is vulnerable to a knockout punch. Now under President Trump, who is eager to build infrastructure and appear strong on national security, they may finally have an ally in the White House.”                                                                                       
Bloomberg News: U.S. Grid in ‘Imminent Danger’ From Cyber-Attack, Study Says — Excerpt: “The U.S. Energy Department says the electricity system ‘faces imminent danger’ from cyber-attacks, which are growing more frequent and sophisticated, but grid operators say they are already on top of the problem.

In the department’s landmark Quadrennial Energy Review, it warned that a widespread power outage caused by a cyberattack could undermine ‘critical defense infrastructure’ as well as much of the economy and place at risk the health and safety of millions of citizens. The report comes amid increased concern over cybersecurity risks as U.S. intelligence agencies say Russian hacking was aimed at influencing the 2016 presidential election.”

 The U.S. Energy Department’s 494-page report was released during the final days of the Obama administration, and it offered this clear warning for 2017 and beyond: “Cyber threats to the electricity system are increasing in sophistication, magnitude, and frequency. The current cybersecurity landscape is characterized by rapidly evolving threats and vulnerabilities, juxtaposed against the slower-moving deployment of defense measures.”

The new report offered a long list of key findings for policymakers, and here are a few:

To read the report’s findings, click on