GAO: Electrical Grid’s Distribution Systems More Vulnerable

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The U.S. electrical grid’s distribution systems that deliver electricity directly to customers are increasingly vulnerable to cyberthreats, and the Department of Energy needs to do more to protect this critical infrastructure, according to a Government Accountability Office audit. The GAO recommends that the Energy Department incorporate the grid’s distribution systems into its cybersecurity strategy that already includes the generation and transmission systems. The Energy Department agreed with the recommendation, the audit notes. Although the GAO says it’s not clear how threats against distribution systems might affect the grid, it points out that a “coordinated attack on distribution systems could cause outages in multiple areas even if it did not disrupt the bulk power system, according to officials from one national laboratory.”

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