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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) joined Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) in reintroducing the bipartisan Cyber Sense Act. This legislation would create a voluntary Cyber Sense program at the Department of Energy to test the cybersecurity of products and technologies intended for use in the bulk-power system.

“The Colonial Pipeline and JBS cyberattacks demonstrated just how catastrophic data breaches can be and underscored the importance of securing our critical energy infrastructure,” said Risch. “We need a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that protects U.S. assets while proactively identifying security vulnerabilities. The Department of Energy’s national laboratories, including the Idaho National Lab, are uniquely positioned to help secure the products that operate the nation’s electric grid. This legislation is a step in the right direction.”

“As our world becomes more digitized, the need for a strong defense of our nation’s electric infrastructure has never been more clear. And with the recent pandemic forcing us to rely more heavily on technology, it’s no surprise that we are seeing a surge in cyberattacks,” said Rosen. “If we don’t act to address and mitigate cybersecurity risks, our nation will remain vulnerable. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to provide much-needed training and technical assistance to electric utilities to address cybersecurity risks and strengthen our national security. I will continue to support legislation that equips our workforce and organizations with the skills needed to improve our nation’s grid resiliency.”

“By utilizing technology to identify and minimize cybersecurity risks, we’re protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure that powers our homes and our economy,” said Hoeven. “Events of the past year have revealed increasing vulnerabilities within our energy infrastructure, and our bipartisan legislation supports efforts to secure our nation’s electric grid.”

Specifically, the bipartisan Cyber Sense Act would:

  • Create a voluntary Department of Energy ‘Cyber Sense’ program that would identify and promote cyber-secure products for use in the bulk-power system.
  • Establish a testing process for the products along with a reporting process of cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
  • Require the Secretary of Energy to keep a related database on the products, which will aid electric utilities that are evaluating products and their potential to cause harm to the electric grid.
  • Direct the Secretary of Energy to consider incentives to encourage the use of analysis and results of testing under the program in the design of products and technologies for use in the bulk-power system. 

Additional cosponsors of the bill include Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year by Representatives Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.).

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