How vulnerable is the US power grid to cyberattacks?

Cyber Security FOXBusiness

Could Russian hackers target the U.S. electrical grid?

Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke weighs in on the safety and security of the U.S. electric grid against Russian hackers.

Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke on Friday discussed why it will be difficult for a foreign or internal hacker to attack the United States power grid and how the government can help prevent against any future cyber threats.

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Many cybersecurity experts suggest that Russia is working to improve their cyberattacks against countries like the Ukraine, in order to one day attack the U.S.

“The fact that our electric grid was developed independently in different regions of the country, I think actually makes it harder to do a widespread cyberattack. The thing we have to protect the most is what we call an EMS system, that’s the brains of our grid and that’s where we put a significant amount of effort into protecting,” he told FOX Business’ Liz Claman.

Fowke emphasized the importance of the utility sector working side by side with the government to help better security efforts.

“We need to work hand in glove with the government, sharing information. We need to work with other critical infrastructure sectors, finance, and telecommunications because we are interdependent upon each other. It’s really important that we are coordinated,” he said.

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The energy executive also discussed why he hopes President Trump rolls back regulations on the use of drones.

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“We have 20,000 miles of transmission lines and we are also the leading wind provider in the country, so we have a lot of wind towers. I’d much rather have a drone inspecting those towers and those lines than an employee from a safety perspective, also from a cost perspective,” he said.
 

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