Trump declares national emergency as foreign hackers threaten US power grid5. May 2020
Trump declares national emergency as foreign hackers threaten US power grid
New York, May 5, 2020
A few days ago, according to a Forbes report, President Trump signed an executive order to further protect the U.S. mass electricity supply system from foreign adversaries. In his words, the attackers would “increasingly create and exploit vulnerabilities”. The executive regulation prohibits the “acquisition, import, transfer or installation” of power supply systems for mass flow systems of companies that are under foreign control.
The order also confirmed that a task force with members such as the Secretary of Defense, the Minister of Internal Security and the Director of the National Secret Service had been set up to help protect against national security threats to the energy infrastructure. However, this arrangement does not mention: neither foreign opponents nor the companies controlled by them are named.
The background to this order is, on the one hand, the worldwide threat analysis published in January 2019 by the then director of the National Secret Service, Daniel R. Coats. It warns of the possibility of cyber attacks by China and Russia in relation to the US power grid. The report said: “Russia has the ability to launch cyber attacks in the United States that have localized, temporary disruptive effects on critical infrastructures.” The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning in 2018 about “measures by the Russian government” that target, among other things, the US energy infrastructure sector.
US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, who will lead the newly created task force, said: “It is imperative that the mass flow system be protected against exploitation and attack by foreign threats. This executive regulation will significantly affect the targeting ability of foreign opponents.”
The Ministry of Energy set up the Office for Cyber Security, Energy Security and Emergency Measures (CESER) in February 2018 to improve the security of energy infrastructure, including the preparation and response to cyber attacks.