Cybersecurity Experts Question the PROTECT Act

ST. LOUIS, May 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — US cybersecurity experts have expressed concern over the efficacy of President Biden’s Executive Order on Cybersecurity, and the Protecting Resources On The Electric grid with Cybersecurity Technology (PROTECT) Act in preventing damaging cyberattacks on the US Electrical grid.

“We applaud the swift action from President Biden following the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, and agree that our energy infrastructure underpins the economic and national security of the United States. We applaud Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK ), James Risch (R-ID), Angus King (I-ME), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) for recognizing this critical vulnerability”,  says cybersecurity expert Dr. Ron Indeck, former Das Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Washington University, and CEO of Q-Net Security.  

“However, the PROTECT Act risks ensuring that the US grid remains vulnerable to cybersecurity threats by providing incentives for US utilities to invest in obsolete software-based cybersecurity solutions”.

Experts agree that software security programs have become obsolete in the era of sophisticated nation-state attacks.

“We already know that no cybersecurity software is secure,” says Dr. Jerry Cox, founding chairman of the Department of Computer Science at Washington University in St. Louis.

“These flaws have been demonstrated time and again, through the countless damaging failures to prevent attacks on US interests, including the Colonial Pipeline, Accellion, Equifax, and Solarwinds attacks.”

Yet some experts remain optimistic that the PROTECT Act could meet its objectives, provided specific conditions are met.

“The PROTECT Act must live up to its name and protect the American public by incentivizing modern secure solutions, not yesterday’s best efforts. Hardware-based technologies are inherently more secure than software, and many of those solutions are developed here in the United States“, states Dr. Johnathan Mell, Assistant Professor at University of Central Florida.

Hardware-based security – known as hardsec – has already been embraced by the US Air Force and a suite of US Government agencies, but has not yet been widely adopted by utilities.

“By investing in hardsec, the US has developed an unbeatable lead in the cybersecurity race. It is regrettable that the PROTECT Act has failed to mention our own, provably-secure homegrown solutions”, states Dr. Indeck.

“Hardsec devices, such as the Q-Net Security Q-Box, are easy to implement, and because they run no software, they don’t require patching or other standard maintenance. As such they’re often cheaper for utilities than a software-based alternative.”

Media Contact: Jayde Lovell, +13476983291, [email protected]

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SOURCE Q-Net Security

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