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Press Release

PUC Recognizes Cybersecurity Awareness Month; Urges Consumers to #BeCyberSmart, Notes Ongoing Efforts to Safeguard Critical Utilities

Published on 10/3/2019

Filed under: Electric Gas Water and Wastewater Telecommunications Transportation and Safety

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today recognized National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure that consumers have the resources to stay secure online while increasing national resilience against cyberthreats.

“Our utility systems – including electric, natural gas, water, telecommunications and transportation networks – are keys to keeping our communities safe and productive, which makes them prime targets for bad actors,” noted PUC Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille, who also chairs the Critical Infrastructure Committee for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). “We all play a role in cybersecurity, at home and at work, educating ourselves about ever-evolving cyberthreats and taking steps to #BeCyberSmart.”

The national theme for this year’s cybersecurity campaign is: “OWN IT. SECURE IT. PROTECT IT.” The education effort focuses on the role of each individual in online safety and stresses the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace. The PUC encourages every Pennsylvanian to review these CyberSecurity materials and remain vigilant online.

Additionally, Chairman Brown Dutrieuille underscored the ongoing work being done in Pennsylvania and across the country to address security in the utility sector.

In August 2019, the PUC hosted a utility Cyber Summit in Harrisburg, bringing together more than 140 professionals from across the country – including cybersecurity and national security experts, along with utility executives, information system leaders and infrastructure security professionals. The summit highlighted the latest threats directed at critical infrastructure and addressed cybersecurity best practices; cybersecurity resilience planning; and cybersecurity auditing, controls, and risk management. 

The summit is the latest part of an ongoing effort to help ensure that the Commonwealth’s regulated utilities are protected from cyber-attacks – guided by the PUC’s Director of the Office of Cybersecurity Compliance and Oversight (OCCO), Michael C. Holko. That office and the director’s position were created in 2018 to advance the PUC’s efforts to protect Pennsylvania utility customers from disruptions to vital utility systems and services.

Also, a new comprehensive suite of Cybersecurity resources was released this summer by NARUC, helping to better equip public utility commissions to understand and address this critical issue.  The NARUC Cybersecurity Manual provides tools for regulators to gather and evaluate information from utilities about their cybersecurity risk management practices.

“The more our state public utility commissions are educated about cyber issues, the better we are able to evaluate current challenges and target future enhancements,” noted Chairman Brown Dutrieuille.

Along with the new national resources, the PUC has developed Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small and Medium Pennsylvania Utilities Guide, available on the Commission’s website.

Additionally, consumers are encouraged to review Pennsylvania’s Cybersecurity Guide for more information about staying secure online.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility. “Like” PA Public Utility Commission” on Facebook for easy access to information on electric shopping.

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