US House member to reoffer bill to give FERC new cybersecurity authority
Washington (Platts)--20Feb2013/447 pm EST/2147 GMT
US Representative Ed Markey, a member of the House of Representatives
Energy and Commerce Committee, will "soon" reintroduce cybersecurity
legislation that would give the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
authority to issue regulations to close cybersecurity vulnerabilities in US
energy sector, Markey spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder said Wednesday.
Markey, Democrat-Massachusetts, in a Wednesday letter urged Committee
Chairman Fred Upton, Republican-Michigan, to quickly pass cybersecurity
legislation in light of a report released yesterday by cybersecurity company
Mandiant accusing a group of hackers in China of being behind thousands of
cyber attacks since 2006.
"The Mandiant report definitively identifies a large group of hackers
with significant resources based in the Pudong New Area in Shanghai, China,
and convincingly connects this group to the Chinese military," Markey said.
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"It is troubling to note that the energy sector was the sixth most
common target" of the hacker group's cyber attacks, Markey said.
The report reveals that the group was responsible for the security
breach at Telvent Canada, now Schneider Electric, which provides supervisory
control and data acquisition systems to electric transmission grid
and oil and pipeline operators. These systems allow companies to remotely
control valves and switches in their infrastructure, Markey said.
"While these SCADA systems can improve operations and reduce costs, they
also expose critical controls to the possibility of hacking," Markey said.
Markey and Upton co-sponsored legislation in the prior Congress that
would give FERC and the US Department of Energy emergency cybersecurity
authority when it comes to threats to the bulk electric system. The bill was
approved by the House in June 2010 but died in the Senate.
A spokeswoman for Upton was not immediately available to say whether
Upton plans to again co-sponsor the same legislation with Markey or whether
he would introduce any legislation at all.
--Esther Whieldon, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Jeff Barber, email@example.com