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Richard Brooks's picture
Co-Founder and Lead Software Engineer Reliable Energy Analytics LLC

Inventor of patent 11,374,961: METHODS FOR VERIFICATION OF SOFTWARE OBJECT AUTHENTICITY AND INTEGRITY and the Software Assurance Guardian™ (SAG ™) Point Man™ (SAG-PM™) software and SAGScore™...

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  • May 2, 2020
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It's befitting that this executive order comes at the same time when Energy Central has devoted a special edition to cybersecurity. Sometimes, I get the sense that some people in the industry believe "it won't happen here". But the risks are real, I know from experience that the risks are real. Maybe this executive order will enable DOE to assist BES entities in tackling the problem, and risks, head on.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 4, 2020

Today’s Executive Order prohibits Federal agencies and U.S. persons from acquiring, transferring, or installing BPS equipment in which any foreign country or foreign national has any interest and the transaction poses an unacceptable risk to national security or the security and safety of American citizens. Evolving threats facing our critical infrastructure have only served to highlight the supply chain risks faced by all sectors, including energy, and the need to ensure the availability of secure components from American companies and other trusted sources.   

Is this saying that all such equipment must be from American companies exclusively? And if so, how feasible is that-- how much of the current equipment is made internationally (for price reasons, for example), and how reasonable is the assumption that a piece of equipment made elsewhere is inherently a threat? Is this intended for specific threats that have been identified, and if so wouldn't it be better to target them rather than use the same broad-stroke brush for them all?

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on May 4, 2020

You raise some good questions, Matt. I think we'll have to wait to see what guidance DOE provides in this regard. It does seem a bit daunting when you consider the scale of this. But, IMO, it's really not the hardware you have to worry about, it's the software inside where the real risk lies. It just so happens, many devices today come with embedded software. Having hardware, without software is like having a car without a driver. The car is pretty useless withou someone to drive it.

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on May 5, 2020

NOW they´re worried about foreign interference?  Not even to protect the integrity of elections for the last three and a half years? 

The "Executive" neither knows nor cares a bit about cyber security. Ensuring that everything is made in the US, as if that were even possible, is pure election rhetoric. Other than more rhetoric, or some bans on certain companies or countries that self-serve the financial or election or vain interests of the members of the administration, or to castigate the scapepoat of the day, there will be no substantive real action that benefits national security as a result of this "order".  

Has this administration implemented any well thought out, coherent, reasoned and (not to mention) constitutional policy whatsoever? There will be no answers to the questions that Richard and Matt pose.  The administration has neither the competence nor the will. 

Ben Ettlinger's picture
Ben Ettlinger on May 5, 2020

It may be tough these days but I was hoping politics stays out of these blogs.

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on May 5, 2020

I like this suggestion from Ben.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 5, 2020

Rest assured, the Energy Central team will be closely monitoring content and comments as election season heats up. Content tied to the election that is relevant to the utility professional in the Energy Central comment will be allowed to stay up, while content that is not directly pertinent to the utility industry will not. Same goes for comments, and any comments that devolve away from respectful and relevant conversation about the utility-focused topic at hand will be removed as well!

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