Communications Crucial to Critical Infrastructure Restoration After Cyber Events

The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability held a two-day Energy Assurance and Interdependency Workshop here to examine the cascading impacts of energy systems on other critical infrastructure. The workshop examined a number of potential emergency scenarios to role-play how interdependent essential services (such as food, water, finance, transportation) might prepare for a number of emergencies, including sophisticated cyber attacks.

During the second day of the workshop, moderator Jack Eisenhauer of Nexight Group laid out for a panel of experts a complex, fictitious cyber attack that cripples banking institutions, leaving users unable to conduct online financial transaction, while taking down the electric grid within large urban areas across the U.S. and consequently disrupting the delivery of natural gas to electric power plants.

On top of these disastrous impacts, the scenario includes voltage surges in the electric transmission system which flow down to the distribution systems, causing damage to automatic transfer switches and backup generators at many residential and commercial facilities, including the Federal Reserve and banking institutions. How, the panelists were asked, do you proceed under such a scenario?

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