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State Senator

Bob Duff

Majority Leader

Representing Norwalk & Darien

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Contact: Adam Joseph
860-240-8641

April 14, 2014

Duff Applauds Release of Cybersecurity Strategy for CT Utilities

Plan will help strengthen defenses against future threats

On Monday State Senator Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), Senate Chairman of the Energy & Technology Committee, welcomed Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s release of a cybersecurity plan for Connecticut’s utilities to help strengthen defense against possible future threats, such as a cyberattack. Connecticut is the first state to present a cybersecurity strategy in partnership with the utilities, and will share it with other states working on similar plans.

“Connecticut’s families and businesses depend upon reliable utility service for their wellbeing and their livelihood. Whether a threat comes from severe weather or a cyber-attack, we need to be prepared for emergencies so that outages can be avoided and service restored as quickly as possible,” said Senator Duff. “A couple of years ago, we learned the hard way that our electric infrastructure was not prepared for a major storm, and we have made significant improvements in the time since. I applaud Gov. Malloy for now looking ahead to prepare for a very different, but perhaps even greater threat.”

The report was initiated as part of the state’s 2013 Comprehensive Energy Strategy, which called on the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to work with state agencies and conduct a review of Connecticut’s electricity, natural gas, and major water companies to assess the adequacy of their capabilities to deter interruption of service and recommend actions strengthening deterrence.

“Fulfilling the promise of a more reliable energy future requires us to look beyond the foreseeable weather threats we know well in Connecticut to defend against possible future threats, such as a cyberattack on our public utilities,” said Governor Malloy. “Unfortunately, we need to do all we reasonably can to prevent, deter, detect and—if necessary—respond to a cyberattack. Just as we are taking proactive steps to harden our critical infrastructure and the shoreline to defend against severe weather events, so too must we be prepared to defend against the potential disruption that cyber intrusions can cause to vital services such as energy, water, and telecommunications.”

PURA Chairman Arthur House, who previously worked in the U.S. intelligence community, noted that “attempts to disrupt public utility services are growing in frequency, scale and sophistication.” He welcomed commissioning the report and said that with the Governor’s leadership and support from the General Assembly, it will be the first step in making cybersecurity part of Connecticut’s efforts to increase the resilience and reliability of public utility service.

Among other findings, the report recommends that Connecticut commence self-regulated cyber audits and reports, and move toward a third-party audit and assessment system. The report also makes recommendations regarding local and regional regulatory roles, emergency drills and training, coordinating with emergency management officials, and handling confidential information.

Governor Malloy noted that Connecticut is actively cooperating with federal authorities to strengthen cybersecurity and will make this report available to other states. “Everyone in America is vulnerable to cyber disruption,” he said. “We need to work together at the federal, state and local levels and with the utilities themselves to do all we can to defend against serious and dangerous threats to our safety and wellbeing.”

Officials commended PURA, Northeast Utilities and United Illuminating, Connecticut’s municipal electric companies and two major water companies, Aquarion and Connecticut Water, along with the telecommunications industry for working together to produce the strategic plan.

The governor has directed PURA to begin the process of fleshing out and proposing concrete actions to respond to the questions this report raises. He further directed PURA to plan and lead a series of technical meetings with the public utilities to seek consensus on the establishment of security standards, reporting of compliance and a process to manage cybersecurity compliance oversight.

 

Press Contacts

Press Aide

Adam Joseph
860-240-8641

Mailing Address

Legislative Office Building
Room 3300
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

Home Page

www.SenatorDuff.cga.ct.gov

E-mail

Bob.Duff@cga.ct.gov

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