December 7, 2016

FERC opens new office to look at potential cyber and physical security risks to energy facilities

(LiveHacking.Com) – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has opened a new office that will focus on potential cyber and physical security risks to energy facilities under its jurisdiction. Known as the Office of Energy Infrastructure Security (OEIS) its tasks is to identify and fix vulnerabilities toenergy facilities from cyber attacks and such physical threats including electromagnetic pulses.

The formation of the OEIS comes to meet the need for a more agile approah to dealing with the growing potential for cyber security attacks and physical security risks against energy facilities. For mitigation to be effective the OEIS will formulate and oversee the development of rapid interactions among regulators, industry and federal and state agencies. In short, the OEIS is intended to enhance the USA’s ability to guarantee the reliability of its power system.

“Creating this office allows FERC to leverage its existing resources with those of other government agencies and private industry in a coordinated, focused manner,” Wellinghoff said. “Effective mitigation of cyber and other physical attacks requires rapid interactions among regulators, industry and federal and state agencies.”

The remit for the Office of Energy Infrastructure Security is:

  • Identifying, communicating and mitigating potential cyber and physical security threats and vulnerabilities to FERC-jurisdictional energy facilities using the Commission’s existing statutory authority
  • Providing assistance, expertise and advice to other agencies in identifying, communicating and mitigating potential cyber and physical threats and vulnerabilities to FERC-jurisdictional energy facilities
  • Participating in inter-agency and intelligence-related coordination and collaboration efforts with appropriate federal and state agencies and industry representatives on cyber and physical security matters related to FERC-jurisdictional energy facilities including, but not limited to, participating in conferences, workshops and classified briefings; and
  • Conducting outreach with private sector owners, users and operators of energy delivery systems regarding identification, communication and mitigation of cyber and physical threats to FERC-jurisdictional energy facilities.

Joseph McClelland will become the Director for the new Office. McClelland was previously the Director of the Office of Electric Reliability since its formation in 2006. The Office of Electric Reliability will now be run by Ted Franks, who will serve as Acting Director.

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