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FERC Seeks to Strengthen Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards

On January 20, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) seeking to require internal network security monitoring (INSM) for high- and medium-impact bulk electric system cyber systems in effort to strengthen its Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Reliability Standards.

FERC’s News Release states:

Today’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) proposes to direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to develop and submit new or modified Reliability Standards to address a gap in the current standards.

Under existing CIP reliability standards, network security monitoring is focused on defending the electronic security perimeter of networks. FERC is seeking to address concerns that the existing standards do not address potential vulnerabilities of the internal network to cyber threats

Staff also issued a presentation explaining the benefits of early detection of a potential cyberattack. The presentation states:

Internal network security monitoring increases the chance of early detection of malicious activity, which in turn allows for quicker mitigation and recovery from an attack. In addition to improved incident response capabilities and situational awareness, internal network security monitoring also contributes to better vulnerability assessments within an Electronic Security Perimeter, all of which support an entity’s cybersecurity defenses and could reduce the impact of cyberattacks.

Comments on the NOPR are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.


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