"In the United States, it is generally taken for granted that the electricity needed to power the U.S. economy is available on demand and will always be available to power our machines and devices. However, in recent years, new threats have materialized as new vulnerabilities have come to light, and a number of major concerns have emerged about the resilience and security of the nation's electric power system. In particular, the cybersecurity of the electricity grid has been a focus of recent efforts to protect the integrity of the electric power system. The increasing frequency of cyber intrusions on industrial control (IC) systems of critical infrastructure continues to be a concern to the electric power sector. Power production and flows on the nation's electricity grid are controlled remotely by a number of IC technologies. The National Security Agency (NSA) reported that it has seen intrusions into IC systems by entities with the apparent technical capability 'to take down control systems that operate U.S. power grids, water systems and other critical infrastructure.' […] This report highlights several areas for congressional consideration to improve grid cybersecurity. One issue is whether electric utilities have the resources to make the financial investment and recruit staff to reduce vulnerabilities. Another issue is that NERC CIP standards do not apply to all points of grid connection to the distribution system, and these connections still may represent cyber vulnerabilities. The adequacy of current standards where they do apply is also an issue."
CRS Report for Congress, R43989
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html