Utilities warned about threat of cyberattacks

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 16, 2013 at 4:09 pm •  Published: March 16, 2013

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — California utility officials are warning that hackers increasingly target utilities with cyberattacks that could leave millions of people without electricity, water and other vital services.

The California Public Utilities Commission is considering rules to bolster cyber-security protections to prevent potentially devastating attacks, according to the San Jose Mercury News (http://bit.ly/XLqO9w ).

In a recent report, the agency warned that utilities were becoming vulnerable to cyberattacks as their networks add smart meters and other computerized gear. Many providers are reluctant to report they've been hacked because they worry disclosure could expose them to liability.

Experts say a cyberattack against an electric utility could lead to massive power outages that shut down water and transportation, threaten the sick and elderly and cause billions of dollars in damage.

"We will see catastrophic outages," James Sample, Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s Chief Information Security Officer, warned state regulators at a recent forum. "We are dealing with a very intelligent adversary."

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