SCE, FBI Working Together to Fight Cyberattacks
A veteran FBI official and a Southern California Edison security executive stand shoulder to shoulder, facing the web of tall towers and power lines that visually define an SCE substation. Top of mind for the decades-long partners in crime-fighting is the threat of a cyberattack that could shut down the electricity grid. As the nation transitions to a clean energy future with a greater reliance on electric power, the grid will continue to expand, increasing the potential cyber “attack surface.”
“We're facing extraordinary risks from cyber threats to our company, on a daily basis we see a huge number of attempts," said Brian Barrios, SCE vice president of Cybersecurity and IT Compliance. “These attacks are often coming from a range of hackers, everything from low-level criminal hackers, all the way to sophisticated nation-states.”
Together, SCE and the FBI this week launched a public service announcement video campaign to highlight their joint efforts to fight the growing threat of cyberattacks on the electric grid. Appearing in the video are Barrios and Kristi Johnson, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
“Partnerships are critical to defeating attackers and to preventing lasting harm to businesses, consumers and the community,” the FBI’s Johnson said. “Together we can defend America against cyber threats.”
The release of the PSA video comes only days after the U.S. government warned of foreign adversaries’ desire to disrupt critical infrastructure operations. “The capabilities of our cyber adversaries are evolving constantly and that’s why we cannot face these threats alone,” Barrios said. “We cannot overstress the importance of having an ongoing, productive partnership with the FBI and other federal agencies while responding to all cyber threats.”
“SCE spends significant time and resources to protect the grid, its systems and customers against a cyberattack,” said Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International, SCE’s parent company. “Collaboration with our government partners has and will continue to play an important role, particularly supporting the kind of research and development that would make it easier to safeguard the electric grid.”
Collaboration with our government partners has and will continue to play an important role, particularly supporting the kind of research and development that would make it easier to safeguard the electric grid.”Pedro Pizarro, Edison International President & CEO
The Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act includes billions of dollars in funding for cybersecurity resiliency targeted toward critical infrastructure including the electric grid. Additionally, the bill provides funding to state and local programs for cyber activities including detecting and recovering from cyber threats and emergencies.
“We are encouraged to see continued progress and the excellent steps the administration is taking to address national cyber concerns,” said Barrios.
The joint SCE-FBI video is being distributed through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and on the FBI’s Partners in our Cyber Mission page. The video is also available on the FBI’s YouTube channel.