Standing Up for Illinois - Office of Lt Governor Pat Quinn

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According to the April, 2004 U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force Report, “[t]he generation and delivery of electricity has been, and continues to be, a target of malicious groups and individuals intent on disrupting this system.”

  • In Jan., 2003, the “Slammer” internet worm took down monitoring computers at FirstEnergy Corporation’s Davis-Besse nuclear power plant, and blocked commands that operated other power utilities. (2004 U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force)
  • A Task Force sub-team headed by the U.S. Secret Service listed physical access to critical cyber infrastructure as a key component of its investigation into the causes of the Aug., 2003 blackout. (2004 U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force)

One of the key recommendations of Lt. Governor Quinn’s Blackout Solutions report was to increase the security of utility facilities. Lt. Governor Quinn successfully urged the General Assembly to adopt new rules in 2005, which tightened access to critical utility facilities.

The bill requires that all electric utility companies and all other entities providing transmission service provider, transmission operator, generator, distributor, or load-serving entity functions (“the entities”) doing business in the state will be required to abide, at minimum, by the North American Reliability Council 1200 standards. As required by the 1200 standards:

  • The entities will maintain a list of all personnel granted access to critical cyber assets, including specific electronic and physical access rights, and note any changes within 24 hours.
  • The entities will conduct background screenings of personnel (including new employees and contractors) consistent with the degree of access they are granted.
  • The entities will demonstrate compliance with the above procedures—to the Illinois Commerce Commission, in this case—on an annual basis, and make all records available for inspection by the Illinois Commerce Commission.