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"The day will not come where we get to declare that we have defeated cybercrime."
That jarring assessment comes from no less than the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
"There is a lot of activity out there, much of it very, very bad and intentionally targeted at our infrastructure, our economy and, indeed, the interests of the American people, by bad actors, in some cases state actors in other cases criminal elements," FERC Chairman Kevin J. McIntyre told the 2018 EIA Energy Conference.
"They will require constant vigilance on the part of all of us," said McIntyre, noting FERC has "very strong working relationships" with other federal and state entities.
McIntyre wasn't the only official at the conference speaking bluntly about cybersecurity. He was preceded on stage June 5 by Undersecretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes, who said "we are seeing unprecedented cyberattacks on our energy system from nations that do not share our values of freedom and democracy."
Those attacks "are increasing in number and growing in sophistication at an alarming rate," said Menezes.
"The question is not if they will succeed, but how to withstand and recover from these attacks," said Menezes, warning the risks are huge.
"What is at stake? Everything. From homes and schools to hospitals and military bases. If our electric grid goes down and stays down, if the lights go out and stay out, the consequences of our national security could be dire indeed."