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The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is conducting an exercise intended to simulate a cyber attack attack on the nation’s electrical grid, according to a leaked document posted here.

NERC is “a not-for-profit entity whose mission is to ensure the reliability of the Bulk-Power System in North America. NERC develops and enforces Reliability Standards; annually assesses seasonal and long‐term reliability; monitors the Bulk-Power System through system awareness; and educates, trains and certifies industry personnel.”

The exercise, dubbed GridEx II as it follows up on a similar test conducted in 2011, is scheduled to take place today and tomorrow in a effort to:

• Exercise the current readiness of the electricity industry to respond to a security incident
• Review existing command, control and communication plans and tools for NERC and its stakeholders
• Identify potential improvements in physical and cybersecurity plans, programs, and responder skills
• Explore senior leadership policy doctrine and triggers in response to major grid reliability issues

“During the one and a half days of the live exercise play, participants will receive sequenced email messages (“injects”) that detail notional scenario conditions,” the NERC document states.

“Based on this information, participants will engage in both internal response measures and external information sharing activities across the sector. An Exercise Control cell, based in Washington, D.C., will manage scenario distribution, monitor exercise play and capture response activities.”

Reports indicate that the exercise will include as many as 65 utilities and eight larger regional transmission organizations.

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