Full Title: Cybersecurity: Challenges in Securing the Electricity Grid
Author(s): Gregory C. Wilshusen
Publisher(s): Government Accountability Office
Publication Date: 7/2012


The electric power industry is increasingly incorporating information technology (IT) systems and networks into its existing infrastructure (e.g., electricity networks, including power lines and customer meters). This use of IT can provide many benefits, such as greater efficiency and lower costs to consumers. However, this increased reliance on IT systems and networks also exposes the grid to cybersecurity vulnerabilities, which can be exploited by attackers. Moreover, GAO has identified protecting systems supporting our nation’s critical infrastructure (which includes the electricity grid) as a governmentwide high-risk area.

GAO was asked to testify on the status of actions to protect the electricity grid from cyber attacks. Accordingly, this statement discusses (1) cyber threats facing cyber-reliant critical infrastructures, which include the electricity grid, and (2) actions taken and challenges remaining to secure the grid against cyber attacks. In preparing this statement, GAO relied on previously published work in this area and reviewed reports from other federal agencies, media reports, and other publicly available sources.