The nation’s largest grid operator just admitted how serious the cyber threat is to power infrastructure.

After a meeting last week with President Trump’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council quarterly meeting, PJM Interconnection’s former CEO, Terry Boston, said the utility experiences 3,000-4,000 hacking attempts every month.

Because of the severity of the problem, Boston wants to see Energy Department personnel with top security clearances working alongside company employees to better coordinate with the federal government during cyber attacks.

“I would suggest … that we add cross training federal [Department of Energy] contractors on industry control systems to have a stronger response team with appropriate clearance when under attack,” he said, adding that most of the time the federal government denies security clearances to private-sector employees because information identifying who is staging the attacks is classified. But Boston says private-sector workers don’t need to know that information.

“Industry needs to know when, how and what to protect under the threat. Not who or why,” he said. “Generally, the reason something is classified is because [of] who the threat is from. And we don’t need to know that to mitigate the threat on the system.”

Other industry officials at the meeting said they were also concerned that without a federal response to cyber threats that is coordinated and proactive, the nation is risking an attack on its power grid that is comparable to the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Source: Washington Examiner

Why it’s on our radar: For years experts have been warning that the nation’s power grid is under risk of being virtually destroyed in a flash. Dating back to at least 2010, former cyber security czar Richard Clarke, in his book “Cyberwar,” laid out a frightening scenario in which a determined enemy could target the U.S. power grid during a conflict, which would essentially bring the nation to its knees. Similar warnings have been issued by other experts since, and the scenarios have not gotten any better. In fact, they’ve gotten worse.

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