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In its article, “Worldwide Denial-of-Service Cyberattacks on Utilities Up Five-Fold This Summer, Data Shows,” Morning Consult quotes Brandon N. Robinson, partner in the firm’s Birmingham office, in response to reports of increased cyberattacks on the electric grid. Brandon stated that the industry has consistently done a good job of defending itself, “and is continuing to be vigilant in doing so as threats emerge and evolve”, citing regulatory reports from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation which indicate continued energy availability above 99.99%.
The article, published on August 27, 2020, references cyber attackers taking advantage of the chaos caused by the many societal disruptions of 2020, with certain types of attacks against utilities spiking five-fold in recent months, according to data provided to Morning Consult by the analytics firm NETSCOUT. The article mentions that distributed denial-of-service (“DDoS”) attacks are not the only type of cyberattack on the rise, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently warned the U.S. energy sector of new hacking threats. Brandon also pointed to adaptations that the industry is making in response to changes in the electric grid itself.“The electric grid is also evolving,” he said, “as we see an evolution from larger, more centralized resources to more distributed resources, and virtualized, remote control of those resources, which call for and have led to adaptation in the way that connectivity between and control of grid resources is protected.”
A member of the firm’s energy section, Brandon also serves as chair of the firm’s Data Privacy & Security Practice. He is the editor and a frequent contributor to the firm’s Data Privacy & Security Observer Blog, which provides legal updates related to data privacy and cyber security. He counsels clients in a variety of industries regarding cybersecurity and data privacy issues to assist them in proactively managing risks while maintaining innovative customer service and protecting critical infrastructure. Additionally, Brandon counsels companies on issues that include data breach management and response, compliance with federal, state, and sectoral privacy laws and regulations, review and drafting of contracts with vendors and other third parties involving customer data and nondisclosure agreements, and the creation and maintenance of company policies and procedures. Finally, Brandon serves as transactional and regulatory counsel on projects involving technology and data, including drones, broadband infrastructure, data application and transfers, and other emerging technologies.