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New office to combat cyber threats to US energy infrastructure

February 21, 2018

The US has launched a government department to combat threats to the country’s energy infrastructure.

 

Energy secretary Rick Perry said the new Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response (CESR) would be based at the Department of Energy (DOE).

 

Funding of $96 million was allocated for CESR as part of federal moves to boost the DOE’s efforts in cybersecurity and energy security, Perry said.

 

The CESER office will be led by an assistant secretary “that will focus on energy infrastructure security” and support national security, the DOE said.

Perry said: “DOE plays a vital role in protecting our nation’s energy infrastructure from cyber threats, physical attack and natural disaster, and as secretary, I have no higher priority. This new office best positions the Department to address the emerging threats of tomorrow while protecting the reliable flow of energy to Americans today.”

 

CESER will “elevate the DOE’s focus on energy infrastructure protection and will enable more coordinated preparedness and response to natural and man-made threats”, the DOE said.

 

The deputy assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s cyber division, Howard Marshall, has warned previously increased use of internet of things (IoT) devices and embedded systems across government, business and in homes, are at risk of cyber attacks.

 

Marshall told legislators in January IoT devices “could be compromised by cyber actors taking advantage of lax security standards and inherent device connectivity to increase the impact of cyber attacks, or as a pivot point into personal or corporate networks”.

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