Dems write Trump, question approach to cybersecurity

A group of Democratic Senators wrote President Donald Trump and the Department of Energy June 22 demanding the administration investigate "Russian capabilities with respect to cyberattacks on [U.S.] energy infrastructure."

The letter served as a follow-up to a prior letter, dated March 14, which called for a probe into Russia's ability to attack U.S. critical energy infrastructure. The 19 Senators claim that letter went ignored.

In the June 22 letter, the Senators referenced CrashOverride — the malware deemed responsible for a Ukrainian power outage last year — as evidence for the need for an investigation. Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security said the malware could be modified to target U.S. critical information networks and systems.

The Senators also address the proposed funding cuts to the DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, which would reduce funding by more that 40 percent.

"Instead of responsibly performing the requested assessment, your administration has proposed slashing funding to the very offices tasked with protecting our grid from Russian cyberattacks," the letter reads. "How can our government protect our national security assets if the administration does not allocate the necessary resources?" 

They request that, within 60 days, the administration direct the DOE to conduct an analysis into the scope of Russian capabilities to use cyberwarfare to threaten the energy infrastructure and examine the extent with which Russia has already attempted to intrude into the U.S. electric grid.

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