The Department of Homeland Security has designated the energy sector as one of sixteen critical infrastructure sectors. The energy sector includes electricity, natural gas, oil, and refined oil products. This white paper is focused on electric cooperatives (co-ops), which comprise an important component of the U.S. electric grid and the energy sector.
Cyber criminals often gain access to large enterprises by compromising smaller organizations in the sector that lack the funding to maintain the systems and expertise needed to combat cyber-attacks. For the electric grid, electric co-ops present this potential point of entry. A cyber incident that shuts down part or all an electric co-op utility’s operation may have serious, far-reaching, and life-threatening ramifications and, because of the ubiquitous requirement for electric power, will also impact each of the other critical infrastructure sectors reliant on that co-op.
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Jakon is the Senior Marketing and Strategic Communications Specialist for Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI). He develops and executes digital and social media awareness initiatives promoting NUARI's mission of enabling a resilient society through rapid research, development, and education in cybersecurity, defense technologies, and information warfare.More posts by Jakon Hays