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Exposed: How America's Electric Grids Are Becoming Greener, Smarter — and More Vulnerable

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Exposed: How America's Electric Grids Are Becoming Greener, Smarter — and More Vulnerable

June 30, 2016
Energy & EnvironmentTechnology / Infrastructure
EconomicsOther

Abstract

Electric grids have always been vulnerable to natural hazards and malicious physical attacks. Now the U.S. faces a new risk—cyberattacks—that could threaten public safety and greatly disrupt daily life.

Key Findings

  • America’s push for “greener,” “smarter” grids will involve a vast expansion of the Internet of Things that greatly increases the cyberattack surface available to malicious hackers and hostile nation-state entities.
  • Cyberattacks overall have been rising 60 percent annually for the past half-dozen years, and utilities are increasingly targeted.
  • Federal and state governments genuflect to the goal of reliable, resilient, and affordable electric service; yet comparatively trivial sums are directed at ensuring that grids are more secure, compared with the vast funding to promote, subsidize, and deploy green energy on grids.

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