In one of his first public statements on his priorities as president, Donald Trump promised to develop a “comprehensive plan to protect America’s vital infrastructure from cyberattacks.” That has not yet materialized. And as new evidence has emerged that a piece of sophisticated malware caused a blackout in the Ukrainian capital last December, one group of senators wants answers now about the threat of Russian grid-hacking.
In a letter to the president Thursday, 19 senators have called on the White House to direct the Department of Energy to conduct a new analysis of the Russian government’s capabilities to disrupt America’s power grid. They also want an exploration of any attempts the Kremlin may have already made to compromise America’s electric utilities, pipelines, or other energy infrastructure, all within 60 days. While they made a similar request in March–to which the White House never responded–forensic reports that surfaced last week about a piece of malware known as CrashOverride, which briefly took out about a fifth of the total energy capacity of Kiev, have given their query renewed urgency.
“We are deeply concerned that your administration has not backed up a verbal commitment prioritizing cybersecurity of energy networks and fighting cyber aggression with any meaningful action,” reads the letter, which was signed by senators Ron Wyden, Al Franken, Maria Cantwell, Bernie Sanders, Martin Heinrich and others.