February 2020
Black Sky

by Bonnie Biocchi, Executive Director
                                                

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a FEMA Region I Cybersecurity Workshop conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, CISA (Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security), and FEMA. The goal of the event was to explore a “Black Sky” event in which a catastrophic cyber attack left the entire East Coast, Toronto and Southern California without power. As you can imagine, it was a sobering discussion as government officials, academic partners, military, private sector, and other key stakeholders grappled with the magnitude and length of such an outage and how to respond to and recover from such an event. 

During the plenary discussion, Eileen Decker, President of the Los Angeles Police Commission tried to put into context the deepening threat that cyber attacks hold over our nation. She revealed an astonishing fact that really drove home the severity of the problem. To quantify the threat, she told the audience that every day the city of Los Angeles responds to one billion (yes, billion) attempted hacks to their system. 
  
Granted, the City of Los Angeles is a huge target. But smaller communities are ripe targets for opportunity which can then escalate to region wide events. The nature of the threats rank from simple unstructured threats (such as a disgruntled employee), to advanced structured threats (think viruses, worms, bots) to complex coordinated threats (i.e. extensive organization, multiple attack vectors). Coupled with foreign rogue actors, the nation’s grid is a prime target for all types of mayhem. 

With that in mind, I would invite you to continually evaluate your cyber framework and strictly adhere to cyber hygiene. SCADA, ICS and Smart Grid Technology are areas to focus your attention as they are the most easily exploited. There are many tools available and the federal government is evaluating a national set of standards for reporting and threat monitoring to enable greater vigilance.

In May, the Army National Guard Defensive Cyberspace Operations Elements (DCOE) and other Army and Air National Guard Cyber Defenders are hosting Cyber Yankee 2020 to create a realistic cyber exercise in an effort to further train and apply their skills. They are interested in having four to six Public Power systems participate in the exercise. It is the largest exercise of its kind in the Northeast and will certainly enlighten you while providing a terrific format to build relationships and offer the public power input into solutions. If you are interested in possibly attending this event, please let me know and I will connect you to the organizers of the event.

As always, be safe out there!

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NEPPA Webinar Series: Improving the Reliability of Your Distribution System
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In the News
Shining Star

We are thrilled to announce that Sarah Elise Braese, Director of Education & Programs of Northeast Public Power Association has earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE®) designation from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). The CAE is the highest professional credential in the association industry.

To be designated as a Certified Association Executive, an applicant must have experience with nonprofit organization management, complete a minimum of 100 hours of specialist professional development, pass a stringent examination in association management, and pledge to uphold a code of ethics. To maintain the certification, individuals must undertake ongoing professional development and activities in association and nonprofit management.   The CAE Program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

We are delighted that Sarah has accomplished this significant achievement. While we have long known the tremendous value that Sarah’s work brings to NEPPA, it is gratifying to see her recognized on the National stage by ASAE. By earning this certification, Sarah joins a select group of Association Industry Professionals. Less than 4500 individuals from a pool of 48,000 association execs receive this designation.  She is among the very best!
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