Bill urging ‘retro’ approach to securing power grid gets support in Senate

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Sen. Angus King (I-ME) testified in support of a bill to take a retro approach to securing the electric grid from cyberattacks. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A proposal from Maine Sen. Angus King (I) and Idaho Sen. Jim Risch (R) to protect the electric grid from cyberattacks by introducing more manual processes has cleared a procedural hurdle, getting support from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy.

The bill – originally proposed last year – asserts the smartest way to protect the energy grid is to dumb it down by replacing some automated systems managed by computers with manual processes that require human interaction.

After introducing the legislation in June 2016, King cited recent attacks on the Ukrainian electric grid, which were remediated by the fast action of technicians operating manual switches.

During a March 28 subcommittee hearing, King said the U.S. is looking at “the longest wind-up for a punch in world history” if it does not act on cybersecurity.