US electric co-op apex launches ten-point plan to tackle cyber attacks

NRECA based the programme on guidance from the Department of Homeland Security and has urged all members to sign up

The USA’s National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has launched a cybersecurity programme to help co-ops in the sector improve their defences and response to cyberthreats.

The programme, which sets out 10 goals, is based on the performance recommendations from the US Department of Homeland Security.

NRECA is calling on all electric co-ops to participate in the scheme and meet the following goals:

  • Establish a cybersecurity point of contact
  • Self-assessment
  • Contract review
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Default password policy
  • Leadership training
  • Employee training
  • ITOT segmentation
  • Cyber Incident response plan
  • Data backups

Co-ops that sign up for the programme will receive guidelines and links to resources to help them meet the 10 goals, which can be used alongside its new CEO guidebook on cybersecurity.

“These goals are building blocks for a solid cybersecurity posture and lead co-ops on the road to achieving greater cyber priorities,” NRECA chief scientist Emma Stewart told Rural Electric Magazine.

The apex will provide awards along with a digital badge to all co-ops that complete the 10 goals by the end of 2023.