Idaho Senator Jim Risch Offers Low-Tech Solution To Cybersecurity

Feb 24, 2017

Idaho Senator Jim Risch (center) is proposing a low-tech solution to cybersecurity threats.
Credit Twitter: @SenatorRisch

Senator Jim Risch proposed a novel idea for protecting the nation's power grid from cyber threats. The senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee thinks we should rely less on electronics and more on humans to manage the nation's electricity.

The Republican senator cited a 2015 cyber attack on Ukraine's power grid as evidence for his proposal. Power was cut to some 215,000 Ukranians in the incident, but the outage would've been even more widespread had humans not still been in physical control of some elements of the grid.

“Sometimes,” Risch says, “we do better than robots.”

According to the Idaho Statesman, Risch and another member of the Senate Intelligence Committee want Congress to back a $10 million pilot program that looks for low-tech solutions to thwart hackers. A senior adviser with the Idaho National Lab, Brent Stacey, says the high tech facility is eager to participate. Stacey says the lab has already altered processes tied to its power grid to be more adaptive to testing new ideas.

Risch’s Securing Energy Infrastructure Act has bipartisan support. The senator wants intelligence and cybersecurity professionals to know that just because something is low-tech doesn't mean it should be passed over.

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