The weather in New York City today was a pleasant 64 degrees but Gothamites had better hope it stays mild. The White House has announced that it will simulate an attack on the NYC power grid during the next heatwave. Oh, that's just mean.
The Executive branch—in cooperation with FBI, NSA, Homeland Security and Justice Department—will undertake an exercise this summer to illustrate the need for stronger federal oversight for companies deemed critical to U.S. national and economic security. These oversights would, in part, require companies to initiate tougher security protocols and stems from last year's attacks on Citigroup and Lockheed-Martin.
To this end, the White House has already backed a Senate bill, S. 2105, submitted by Joe Lieberman in mid-February. AT&T and Comcast have—of course—come out in opposition to the added-security requirements, arguing that any additional oversight would stifle innovation.
"Such requirements could have an unintended stifling effect on making real cybersecurity improvements," Edward Amoroso, chief security officer for Dallas-based AT&T, said in testimony at the hearing. "Cyber adversaries are dynamic and increasingly sophisticated, and do not operate under a laboriously defined set of rules or processes."
The ISP's are much more in favor of a competing GOP bill, S. 2151, that would help them, according to Bloomberg "avoid new regulations while promoting information-sharing through incentives such as protection from lawsuits." [Emphasis and outrage mine]
However, the White House is unimpressed with this line of reasoning and is pressing ahead with the demonstration which is "intended to provide all senators with an appreciation for new legislative authorities that would help the U.S. government prevent and more quickly respond to cyber attacks," WH spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told Bloomberg.
Details are extremely thin at this point, however Hayden did confirm that the Senate will receive a classified briefing on the "hypothetical cyber attack against United States critical infrastructure networks." Those networks include U.S. banks, power grids, telecommunications systems, and anything else that would look attractive to a Stuxnet Worm. [Bloomberg]
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