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Granholm Calls for Public-Private Partnership to Thwart Cyberattacks

June 10, 2021 by Dan McCue
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm attends the inaugural meeting of the Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, in Harris' ceremonial office, Thursday, May 13, 2021, on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON — Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm would like to see more public-private cooperation on cyber defenses and said U.S. adversaries already are capable of using cyber intrusions to shut down the U.S. power grid.

“I think that there are very malignant actors who are trying,” she said. “Even as we speak, there are thousands of attacks on all aspects of the energy sector and the private sector generally.”

Granholm made her comments during appearances on CNN’s “State of the Union” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Granholm noted, without mentioning the company by name, that Colonial Pipeline Co. was hit in May with a crippling cyberattack by a ransomware group. 

Colonial temporarily shut down its gasoline distribution networks in the South before paying $4.4 million to the hackers. She urged energy companies to resist paying ransom.

“The bottom line is, people, whether you’re in the private sector, public sector, whatever, you shouldn’t be paying ransomware attacks, because it only encourages the bad guys,” she said.

Asked whether American adversaries have the capability now of shutting down the U.S. power grid, she said: “Yes, they do.”

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