[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 206 (Thursday, October 26, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 49541-49549]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-23287]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 206 / Thursday, October 26, 2017 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 49541]]



DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

18 CFR Part 40

[Docket No. RM17-11-000]


Revised Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standard 
CIP-003-7--Cyber Security--Security Management Controls

AGENCY: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) proposes 
to approve Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Reliability 
Standard CIP-003-7 (Cyber Security--Security Management Controls), 
submitted by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation 
(NERC). Proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 improves upon the 
current Commission-approved CIP Reliability Standards by clarifying the 
obligations pertaining to electronic access control for low impact BES 
Cyber Systems; adopting mandatory security controls for transient 
electronic devices (e.g., thumb drives, laptop computers, and other 
portable devices frequently connected to and disconnected from systems) 
used at low impact BES Cyber Systems; and requiring responsible 
entities to have a policy for declaring and responding to CIP 
Exceptional Circumstances related to low impact BES Cyber Systems. In 
addition, the Commission proposes to direct NERC to develop certain 
modifications to the NERC Reliability Standards to provide clear, 
objective criteria for electronic access controls for low impact BES 
Cyber Systems; and address the need to mitigate the risk of malicious 
code that could result from third-party transient electronic devices.

DATES: Comments are due December 26, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Comments, identified by docket number, may be filed in the 
following ways:
     Electronic Filing through http://www.ferc.gov. Documents 
created electronically using word processing software should be filed 
in native applications or print-to-PDF format and not in a scanned 
format.
     Mail/Hand Delivery: Those unable to file electronically 
may mail or hand-deliver comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., 
Washington, DC 20426.
    Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and 
additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Comment 
Procedures section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matthew Dale (Technical Information), 
Office of Electric Reliability, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 
888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-6826, 
[email protected], Kevin Ryan (Legal Information), Office of the 
General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street 
NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-6840, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    1. Pursuant to section 215 of the Federal Power Act (FPA),\1\ the 
Commission proposes to approve Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) 
Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 (Cyber Security--Security Management 
Controls). The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), 
the Commission-certified Electric Reliability Organization (ERO), 
submitted proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 in response to 
directives in Order No. 822.\2\ The Commission also proposes to approve 
the associated violation risk factors and violation severity levels, 
implementation plan and effective dates proposed by NERC. In addition, 
the Commission proposes to approve the modified definitions of 
Transient Cyber Asset and Removable Media as well as the retirement of 
the definitions for Low Impact External Routable Connectivity (LERC) 
and Low Impact Electronic Access Point (LEAP) in the NERC Glossary of 
Terms Used in NERC Reliability Standards (NERC Glossary). Further, the 
Commission proposes to approve the retirement of Reliability Standard 
CIP-003-6.
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    \1\ 16 U.S.C. 824o (2012).
    \2\ Revised Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability 
Standards, Order No. 822, 154 FERC ] 61,037, reh'g denied, Order No. 
822-A, 156 FERC ] 61,052 (2016).
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    2. Proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 is designed to mitigate 
the cybersecurity risks to bulk electric system facilities, systems, 
and equipment, which, if destroyed, degraded, or otherwise rendered 
unavailable as a result of a cybersecurity incident, would affect the 
reliable operation of the bulk electric system.\3\ As discussed below, 
the Commission proposes to determine that proposed Reliability Standard 
CIP-003-7 is just, reasonable, not unduly discriminatory or 
preferential, and in the public interest and addresses the directives 
in Order No. 822 by: 1. Clarifying the obligations pertaining to 
electronic access control for low impact BES Cyber Systems; \4\ and 2. 
adopting mandatory security controls for transient electronic devices 
(e.g., thumb drives, laptop computers, and other portable devices 
frequently connected to and disconnected from systems) used at low 
impact BES Cyber Systems. In addition, by requiring responsible 
entities to have a policy for declaring and responding to CIP 
Exceptional Circumstances for low impact BES Cyber Systems, the 
proposed Reliability Standard aligns the treatment of low impact BES 
Cyber Systems with that of high and medium impact BES Cyber Systems, 
which currently include a requirement for declaring and responding to 
CIP Exceptional Circumstances. Accordingly, we propose to approve 
proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 because the proposed 
modifications improve the base-line cybersecurity posture of 
responsible entities compared to the current Commission-approved CIP 
Reliability Standards.
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    \3\ See NERC Petition at 2.
    \4\ NERC defines ``BES Cyber System'' as one or more BES Cyber 
Assets logically grouped by a responsible entity to perform one or 
more reliability tasks for a functional entity.
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    3. In addition, pursuant to FPA section 215(d)(5), the Commission 
proposes to direct NERC to develop certain modifications to the CIP 
Reliability Standards. As discussed below, while proposed Reliability 
Standard CIP-003-7 improves electronic access control for low impact 
BES Cyber Systems and enhances security controls for transient 
electronic

[[Page 49542]]

devices used at low impact BES Cyber Systems, we propose to direct that 
NERC modify Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 to: 1. Provide clear, 
objective criteria for electronic access controls for low impact BES 
Cyber Systems; and 2. address the need to mitigate the risk of 
malicious code that could result from third-party transient electronic 
devices. We believe that modifications addressing these two concerns 
will address potential gaps and improve the cyber security posture of 
responsible entities that must comply with the CIP standards.

I. Background

A. Section 215 and Mandatory Reliability Standards

    4. Section 215 of the FPA requires a Commission-certified ERO to 
develop mandatory and enforceable Reliability Standards, subject to 
Commission review and approval. Reliability Standards may be enforced 
by the ERO, subject to Commission oversight, or by the Commission 
independently.\5\ Pursuant to section 215 of the FPA, the Commission 
established a process to select and certify an ERO,\6\ and subsequently 
certified NERC.\7\
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    \5\ 16 U.S.C. 824o(e) (2012).
    \6\ Rules Concerning Certification of the Electric Reliability 
Organization; and Procedures for the Establishment, Approval, and 
Enforcement of Electric Reliability Standards, Order No. 672, FERC 
Stats. & Regs. ] 31,204, order on reh'g, Order No. 672-A, FERC 
Stats. & Regs. ] 31,212 (2006).
    \7\ North American Electric Reliability Corp., 116 FERC ] 
61,062, order on reh'g and compliance, 117 FERC ] 61,126 (2006), 
aff'd sub nom. Alcoa, Inc. v. FERC, 564 F.3d 1342 (D.C. Cir. 2009).
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B. Order No. 822

    5. The Commission approved the ``Version 1'' CIP standards in 
January 2008, and subsequently acted on revised versions of the CIP 
standards.\8\ On January 21, 2016, in Order No. 822, the Commission 
approved seven CIP Reliability Standards: CIP-003-6 (Security 
Management Controls), CIP-004-6 (Personnel and Training), CIP-006-6 
(Physical Security of BES Cyber Systems), CIP-007-6 (Systems Security 
Management), CIP-009-6 (Recovery Plans for BES Cyber Systems), CIP-010-
2 (Configuration Change Management and Vulnerability Assessments), and 
CIP-011-2 (Information Protection). The Commission determined that the 
Reliability Standards under consideration at that time were an 
improvement over the prior iteration of the CIP Reliability Standards 
and addressed the directives in Order No. 791 by, among other things, 
addressing in an equally effective and efficient manner the need for a 
NERC Glossary definition for the term ``communication networks'' and 
providing controls to address the risks posed by transient electronic 
devices (e.g., thumb drives and laptop computers) used at high and 
medium impact BES Cyber Systems.\9\
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    \8\ Mandatory Reliability Standards for Critical Infrastructure 
Protection, Order No. 706, 122 FERC ] 61,040, order on reh'g, Order 
No. 706-A, 123 FERC ] 61,174 (2008), order on clarification, Order 
No. 706-B, 126 FERC ] 61,229 (2009), order on clarification, Order 
No. 706-C, 127 FERC ] 61,273 (2009).
    \9\ Order No. 822, 154 FERC ] 61,037 at P 17; see also Version 5 
Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards, Order No. 
791, 78 FR 72755 (Dec. 3, 2013), 145 FERC ] 61,160 (2013), order on 
clarification and reh'g, Order No. 791-A, 146 FERC ] 61,188 (2014).
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    6. In addition, in Order No. 822, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of 
the FPA, the Commission directed NERC, inter alia, to: 1. Develop 
modifications to the LERC definition to eliminate ambiguity surrounding 
the term ``direct'' as it is used in the LERC definition; and 2. 
develop modifications to the CIP Reliability Standards to provide 
mandatory protection for transient electronic devices used at low 
impact BES Cyber Systems.\10\
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    \10\ Order No. 822, 154 FERC ] 61,037 at P 18.
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C. NERC Petition

    7. On March 3, 2017, NERC submitted a petition seeking approval of 
Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 and the associated violation risk 
factors and violation severity levels, implementation plan and 
effective dates. NERC states that proposed Reliability Standard CIP-
003-7 satisfies the criteria set forth in Order No. 672 that the 
Commission applies when reviewing a proposed Reliability Standard.\11\ 
NERC also sought approval of revisions to NERC Glossary definitions for 
the terms Removable Media and Transient Cyber Asset, as well as the 
retirement of the NERC Glossary definitions of LERC and LEAP. In 
addition, NERC proposed the retirement of Commission-approved 
Reliability Standard CIP-003-6.
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    \11\ See NERC Petition at 2 (citing Order No. 672, FERC Stats. & 
Regs. ] 31,204 at PP 262, 321-337); id. at Exhibit D (Order No. 672 
Criteria).
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    8. NERC states that proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 
improves upon the existing protections that apply to low impact BES 
Cyber Systems. NERC avers that the proposed modifications address the 
Commission's directives from Order No. 822 by: 1. Clarifying electronic 
access control requirements applicable to low impact BES Cyber Systems; 
and 2. adding requirements for the protection of transient electronic 
devices used for low impact BES Cyber Systems. In addition, while not 
required by Order No. 822, NERC proposes a CIP Exceptional 
Circumstances policy for low impact BES Cyber Systems.
    9. In response to the Commission's directive to develop 
modifications to eliminate ambiguity surrounding the term ``direct'' as 
it is used in the LERC definition, NERC proposes to: 1. Retire the 
terms LERC and LEAP from the NERC Glossary; and 2. modify Section 3 of 
Attachment 1 to proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 ``to more 
clearly delineate the circumstances under which Responsible Entities 
must establish access controls for low impact BES Cyber Systems.'' \12\ 
NERC states that the proposed revisions are designed to simplify the 
electronic access control requirements associated with low impact BES 
Cyber Systems in order to avoid ambiguities associated with the term 
``direct.'' NERC explains that it recognized the ``added layer of 
unnecessary complexity'' introduced by distinguishing between 
``direct'' and ``indirect'' access within the LERC definition and 
asserts that the proposed revisions will ``help ensure that Responsible 
Entities implement the required security controls effectively.'' \13\
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    \12\ Id. at 16.
    \13\ Id. at 16.
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    10. With regard to the Commission's directive to develop 
modifications to the CIP Reliability Standards to provide mandatory 
protection for transient electronic devices used at low impact BES 
Cyber Systems, NERC proposes to add a new section to Attachment 1 to 
proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 to require responsible entities 
to include controls in their cyber security plans to mitigate the risk 
of the introduction of malicious code to low impact BES Cyber Systems 
that could result from the use of ``Transient Cyber Assets or Removable 
Media.'' Specifically, proposed Section 5 of Attachment 1 lists 
controls to be applied to Transient Cyber Assets and Removable Media 
that NERC contends ``will provide enhanced protections against the 
propagation of malware from transient devices.'' \14\
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    \14\ Id. at 26-27.
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    11. NERC also proposes a modification that was not directed by the 
Commission in Order No. 822. Namely, NERC proposes revisions in 
Requirement R1 of proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 to require 
responsible entities to have a policy for declaring and responding to 
CIP Exceptional Circumstances related to low impact BES Cyber 
Systems.\15\ NERC

[[Page 49543]]

states that a number of requirements in the existing CIP Reliability 
Standards specify that responsible entities do not have to implement or 
continue implementing these requirements during a CIP Exceptional 
Circumstance in order to avoid hindering the entities' ability to 
timely and effectively respond to the CIP Exceptional Circumstance. 
NERC explains that since the proposed requirements relating to 
transient electronic devices used at low impact BES Cyber Systems 
include an exception for CIP Exceptional Circumstances, NERC is 
proposing to add a requirement for responsible entities to have a CIP 
Exceptional Circumstances policy that applies to low impact BES Cyber 
Systems, as it already requires for high and medium impact BES Cyber 
Systems.\16\
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    \15\ A CIP Exceptional Circumstance is defined in the NERC 
Glossary as a situation that involves or threatens to involve one or 
more of the following, or similar, conditions that impact safety or 
bulk electric system reliability: A risk of injury or death; a 
natural disaster; civil unrest; an imminent or existing hardware, 
software, or equipment failure; a Cyber Security Incident requiring 
emergency assistance; a response by emergency services; the 
enactment of a mutual assistance agreement; or an impediment of 
large scale workforce availability. Glossary of Terms Used in NERC 
Reliability Standards (August 1, 2017), http://www.nerc.com/files/glossary_of_terms.pdf.
    \16\ NERC Petition at 31-32.
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    12. NERC requests that proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 and 
the revised definitions of Transient Cyber Asset and Removable Media 
become effective the first day of the first calendar quarter that is 
eighteen months after the effective date of the Commission's order 
approving the proposed Reliability Standard.

II. Discussion

    13. Pursuant to section 215(d)(2) of the FPA, we propose to approve 
Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 as just, reasonable, not unduly 
discriminatory or preferential, and in the public interest. Proposed 
Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 largely addresses the Commission's 
directives in Order No. 822 and is an improvement over the current 
Commission-approved CIP Reliability Standards. Specifically, the 
modifications to Section 3 of Attachment 1 to Reliability Standard CIP-
003-7 clarify the obligations pertaining to electronic access control 
for low impact BES Cyber Systems. In addition, the modifications to 
Attachment 1 to Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 require mandatory 
security controls for transient electronic devices used at low impact 
BES Cyber Systems. We also propose to approve the new provision in 
Reliability Standard CIP-003-7, Requirement R1 requiring responsible 
entities to have a policy for declaring and responding to CIP 
Exceptional Circumstances related to low impact BES Cyber Systems. 
While Order No. 822 did not direct NERC to expand the scope of the CIP 
Exceptional Circumstances policy, the revision aligns the treatment of 
low impact BES Cyber Systems with that of high and medium impact BES 
Cyber Systems if and when a CIP Exceptional Circumstance occurs.
    14. We also propose to approve the revisions to the NERC Glossary 
definitions of Transient Cyber Asset and Removable Media, as well as 
the retirement of the NERC Glossary definitions for LERC and LEAP since 
the proposed modifications to Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 obviate 
the need for the two terms. We further propose to approve the violation 
risk factor and violation severity level assignments associated with 
proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 as well as NERC's proposed 
implementation plan and effective dates.
    15. In addition, as discussed below, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) 
of the FPA, the Commission proposes to direct NERC to develop certain 
modifications to the CIP Reliability Standards. While proposed 
Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 improves electronic access control for 
low impact BES Cyber Systems and enhances security controls for 
transient electronic devices used at low impact BES Cyber Systems, we 
propose to direct that NERC modify Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 to: 
1. Provide clear, objective criteria for electronic access controls for 
low impact BES Cyber Systems; and 2. address the need to mitigate the 
risk of malicious code that could result from third-party transient 
electronic devices.
    16. Below, we discuss the following issues: A. Electronic access 
controls for low impact BES Cyber Systems; B. protection of transient 
electronic devices; C. proposed retirement and modification of 
definitions; D. NERC's proposed implementation plan and effective 
dates; and E. proposed violation severity level and violation risk 
factor assignments.

A. Electronic Access Controls for Low Impact BES Cyber Systems Order 
No. 822

    17. In Order No. 822, the Commission directed NERC to modify the 
LERC definition to eliminate ambiguity surrounding the term ``direct'' 
as it is used in the LERC definition.\17\ The Commission explained that 
the directive was intended to codify the clarification provided in 
NERC's NOPR comments, in which NERC referenced a statement in the 
Guidelines and Technical Basis section of Reliability Standard CIP-003-
6 that electronic access controls must be applied to low impact BES 
Cyber Systems unless responsible entities implement a ``complete 
security break'' between the external host (cyber asset) and any cyber 
asset(s) that may be used to pass communications to the low impact BES 
Cyber System.\18\ The Commission observed that ``a suitable means to 
address our concern is to modify the [LERC] definition consistent with 
the commentary in the Guidelines and Technical Basis section of CIP-
003-6.'' \19\
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    \17\ Order No. 822, 154 FERC ] 61,037 at P 73.
    \18\ Id. (citing NERC NOPR Comments at 31).
    \19\ Id.
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    18. In addition, the Commission explained that the directive was 
also intended to eliminate a loophole that would have allowed 
transitive connections to out-of-scope cyber assets (e.g., serial 
devices) to go unprotected under the LERC definition.\20\
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    \20\ Id. (``NERC's clarification on this issue resolves many of 
the concerns raised by EnergySec, APS, and SPP RE regarding the 
proposed definition, as a complete security break would not appear 
to permit transitive connections through one or more out of scope 
cyber assets to go unprotected under the definition, and would 
appear to require the assets to maintain `separate conversations' as 
suggested by SPP RE.'').
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NERC Petition
    19. In its Petition, NERC proposes to: 1. Retire the terms LERC and 
LEAP from the NERC Glossary; and 2. modify Section 3 of Attachment 1 to 
Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 ``to more clearly delineate the 
circumstances under which Responsible Entities must establish access 
controls for low impact BES Cyber Systems.'' \21\ NERC states that the 
proposed revisions are designed to simplify the electronic access 
control requirements associated with low impact BES Cyber Systems in 
order to avoid ambiguities associated with the term ``direct.'' NERC 
states further that it recognized the ``added layer of unnecessary 
complexity'' introduced by distinguishing between ``direct'' and 
``indirect'' access within the LERC definition and asserts that the 
proposed revisions will ``help ensure that Responsible Entities 
implement the required security controls effectively.'' \22\
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    \21\ NERC Petition at 16.
    \22\ Id.
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    20. NERC states that proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 would 
require responsible entities to implement electronic access controls 
for any communication, direct or indirect (i.e., communications through 
an intermediary device where no direct connection is present), between 
a low

[[Page 49544]]

impact BES Cyber System and an outside Cyber Asset that uses a routable 
protocol when entering or leaving the asset containing the low impact 
BES Cyber System. NERC asserts that the proposed revisions to Section 3 
of Attachment 1 to proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 improve the 
clarity of the electronic access requirements and focus responsible 
entities ``on the security objective of controlling electronic access 
to permit only necessary inbound and outbound electronic access to low 
impact BES Cyber Systems.'' \23\
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    \23\ Id. at 17.
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    21. NERC explains that Section 3.1 of Attachment 1 to proposed 
Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 is composed of three basic elements: 1. 
Identifying routable protocol communications from outside the asset 
containing the low impact BES Cyber System; 2. determining necessary 
inbound and outbound electronic access; and 3. implementing electronic 
access controls to permit only necessary inbound and outbound 
electronic access to the low impact BES Cyber System.
    22. With regard to the first element, NERC states that Section 3.1 
of Attachment 1 defines the circumstances where communications require 
electronic access controls. The three characteristics are:

    1. The communication is between the low impact BES Cyber System 
and a Cyber Asset outside the asset containing low impact BES Cyber 
System(s);
    2. the communication uses a routable protocol when entering or 
leaving the asset containing the low impact BES Cyber System(s); and
    3. the communication is not used for time-sensitive protection 
or control functions between intelligent electronic devices.

    NERC states further that each of the three characteristics were 
included in the original LERC definition.\24\
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    \24\ Id. at 18.
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    23. NERC asserts that the first characteristic helps to properly 
focus the electronic access controls in light of ``the wide array of 
low impact BES Cyber Systems and the risk-based approach to protecting 
different types of BES Cyber Systems.'' \25\ NERC explains that, 
whether a ``Responsible Entity uses a logical border as a demarcation 
point or some other understanding of what is inside or outside the 
asset, [the responsible entity] would have to provide a reasonable 
justification for its determination.'' \26\ On the second 
characteristic, NERC states that routable communications present 
increased risks to the security of BES Cyber Systems and require 
additional protections. Therefore, communications with a low impact BES 
Cyber System involving routable connections require protections to 
address the risk of uncontrolled communications. With regard to the 
third characteristic, NERC explains that the exclusion of 
communications for time-sensitive protection and control functions is 
intended to avoid precluding the functionality of time-sensitive 
reliability enhancing functions. NERC states, however, that an entity 
invoking this exclusion may have to demonstrate that applying 
electronic access controls would introduce latency that would 
negatively impact functionality.\27\
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    \25\ Id. at 19.
    \26\ Id.
    \27\ Id. at 20.
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    24. According to NERC, the second characteristic of Section 3.1 of 
Attachment 1 provides that responsible entities may permit only 
necessary inbound and outbound electronic access to low impact BES 
Cyber Systems as determined by the responsible entity. NERC explains 
that Section 3.1 does not specify a bright line as to what constitutes 
``necessary inbound and outbound access'' due to ``the wide array of 
assets containing low impact BES Cyber Systems and the myriad of 
reasons a Responsible Entity may need to allow electronic access to and 
from a low impact BES Cyber Systems.'' \28\ NERC maintains that 
responsible entities ``have the flexibility to identify the necessary 
electronic access to meet their business and operational needs.'' \29\
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    \28\ Id. at 21-22.
    \29\ Id. at 22.
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    25. NERC explains that ``a Responsible Entity must document the 
necessity of its inbound and outbound electronic access permissions and 
provide justification of the need for such access'' in order to 
demonstrate compliance with Section 3.1 of Attachment 1.\30\ NERC 
states that absent a documented, reasonable justification, the ERO may 
find that the responsible entity was not in compliance with Section 
3.1. NERC asserts that the purpose of the phrase ``as determined by the 
Responsible Entity'' in Section 3.1 is to indicate that the 
determination whether electronic access is necessary is to be made in 
the first instance by the responsible entity based on the facts and 
circumstances of each case. NERC states further that that the phrase 
``as determined by the Responsible Entity'' does not limit the ERO's 
ability to engage in effective compliance oversight. Specifically, NERC 
contends that the ERO has the authority to review the documented 
justification for permitting electronic access and to determine whether 
it represents a reasonable exercise of discretion in light of the 
overall reliability objective.\31\
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    \30\ Id.
    \31\ Id. at 22-23.
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    26. In support of its position, NERC cites the draft Reliability 
Standard Audit Worksheet (RSAW) for proposed Reliability Standard CIP-
003-7, which provides the following language in the Note to Auditor 
section for Requirement R2:

    The entity must document its determination as to what is 
necessary inbound and outbound electronic access and provide 
justification of the business need for such access. Once this 
determination has been made and documented, the audit team's 
professional judgment cannot override the determination made by the 
Responsible Entity.\32\
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    \32\ Id. at 22, n.42.

    NERC also provides a list of Commission-approved CIP Reliability 
Standards where the phrase ``as determined by the Responsible Entity'' 
or similar language is used. NERC states that in all circumstances 
where the phrase ``as determined by the Responsible Entity'' or similar 
language is used, ``the ERO has the authority to evaluate the 
reasonableness of the Responsible Entity's determination when assessing 
compliance to ensure it is consistent with the reliability objective of 
the requirement. To interpret this language otherwise would be 
inconsistent with NERC's statutory obligation to engage in meaningful 
compliance oversight . . .'' \33\
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    \33\ Id. at 23-24. NERC also indicates, id at n.42, that 
Footnote 1 of the draft RSAW states that ``[w]hile the information 
included in this RSAW provides some of the methodology that NERC has 
elected to use to assess compliance with the requirements of the 
Reliability Standard, this document should not be treated as a 
substitute for the Reliability Standard or viewed as additional 
Reliability Standard requirements. In all cases, the Regional Entity 
should rely on the language contained in the Reliability Standard 
itself, and not on the language contained in the RSAW, to determine 
compliance with the Reliability Standard.'' Draft RSAW, http://www.nerc.com/pa/Stand/Project%20201602%20Modifications%20to%20CIP%20Standards%20DL/RSAW_CIP-003-7(i)_v2_Clean_01202017.pdf.
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Commission Proposal
    27. The Commission proposes to approve Reliability Standard CIP-
003-7 because, as discussed above, the proposed Reliability Standard 
largely addresses the directives in Order No. 822 and is an improvement 
over the current Commission-approved CIP Reliability Standards. 
However, NERC's proposed revisions to Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 
regarding the LERC

[[Page 49545]]

directive and electronic access controls for low impact BES Cyber 
Systems raise certain issues. In Order No. 822, the Commission directed 
NERC to develop modifications to the LERC definition to eliminate 
ambiguity surrounding the term ``direct'' as it is used in the 
definition. The directive was based on the concern that responsible 
entities could avoid adopting adequate electronic access protections 
for low impact BES Cyber Systems by simply installing a device, such as 
a laptop or protocol converter, in front of the BES Cyber System to 
``break'' the direct routable connection. As the Commission noted in 
Order No. 822, the desired clarification could have been made by 
including the security concepts from the Guidelines and Technical Basis 
section of Reliability Standard CIP-003-6 in the definition.\34\ 
Instead, NERC's proposal comprehensively revises a responsible entity's 
obligations under Requirement R2 through the revisions to Attachment 1 
by deleting the term LERC and giving responsible entities significantly 
more deference in determining how they construct the electronic access 
protections for low impact BES Cyber Systems.
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    \34\ See Order No. 822, 154 FERC ] 61,037 at P 73.
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    28. We are concerned that the proposed revisions may not provide 
adequate electronic access controls for low impact BES Cyber Systems. 
Specifically, proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 does not provide 
clear, objective criteria or measures to assess compliance by 
independently confirming that the access control strategy adopted by a 
responsible entity would reasonably meet the security objective of 
permitting only ``necessary inbound and outbound electronic access'' to 
its low impact BES Cyber Systems.
    29. Section 3.1 of Attachment 1 to proposed Reliability Standard 
CIP-003-7 does not appear to contain clear criteria or objective 
measures to determine whether the electronic access control strategy 
chosen by the responsible entity would be effective for a given low 
impact BES Cyber System to permit only necessary inbound and outbound 
connections. In order to ensure an objective and consistently-applied 
requirement, the electronic access control plan required in Attachment 
1 should require the responsible entity to articulate its access 
control strategy for a particular set of low impact BES Cyber Systems 
and provide a technical rationale rooted in security principles 
explaining how that strategy will reasonably restrict electronic 
access. Attachment 1 should also outline basic security principles in 
order to provide clear, objective criteria or measures to assist in 
assessing compliance. Without such a requirement, auditors will not 
necessarily have adequate information to assess the reasonableness of 
the responsible entity's decision with respect to how the responsible 
entity identified necessary communications or restricted electronic 
access to specific low impact BES Cyber Systems. And absent such 
information, it is possible that an auditor could assess a violation 
where an entity adequately protected its low impact BES Cyber Systems 
or fail to recognize a situation where additional protections are 
necessary to meet the security objective of the standard.
    30. As the Commission stated in Order No. 672, there ``should be a 
clear criterion or measure of whether an entity is in compliance with a 
proposed Reliability Standard. It should contain or be accompanied by 
an objective measure of compliance so that it can be enforced and so 
that enforcement can be applied in a consistent and non-preferential 
manner.'' \35\ The Commission reiterated this point in Order No. 791, 
stating that ``the absence of objective criteria to evaluate the 
controls chosen by responsible entities for Low Impact assets 
introduces an unacceptable level of ambiguity and potential 
inconsistency into the compliance process, and creates an unnecessary 
gap in reliability.'' \36\ The Commission also observed that 
``ambiguity will make it difficult for registered entities to develop, 
and NERC and the regions to objectively evaluate, the effectiveness of 
procedures developed to implement'' the Reliability Standard.\37\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \35\ Rules Concerning Certification of the Electric Reliability 
Organization and Procedures for the Establishment, Approval, and 
Enforcement of Electric Reliability Standards, Order No. 672, FERC 
Stats. & Regs. ] 31,204, at P 327 (2006).
    \36\ Order No. 791, 145 FERC ] 61,160 at P 108.
    \37\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    31. As a possible model, the electronic access control requirements 
that are applied to medium and high impact BES Cyber systems provide a 
number of criteria that can be used to assess the sufficiency of a 
responsible entity's electronic access control strategy. For medium and 
high impact BES Cyber Systems, auditors use the following criteria to 
review whether the access control strategy is reasonable: 1. Whether 
the electronic access was granted through an authorized and monitored 
electronic access point (Reliability Standard CIP-005-5, Requirement 
R1); 2. whether the electronic access granted to individuals/devices 
was evaluated based on need (Reliability Standard CIP-005-5, 
Requirement R1.3); 3. whether the entity has mechanisms to enforce 
authentication of users with electronic access (Reliability Standard 
CIP-007-6, Requirement R5); and 4. whether the responsible entity 
routinely uses strong passwords and manages password changes 
(Reliability Standard CIP-007-6, Requirement R5). Absent similar 
criteria in the low impact electronic access control plan that are 
appropriately tailored to the risks posed by low impact BES Cyber 
Systems, responsible entities may adopt electronic access controls that 
do not meet the overarching security objective of restricting inbound 
and outbound electronic access.
    32. Therefore, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA, we propose 
to direct NERC to develop modifications to Reliability Standard CIP-
003-7 to provide clear, objective criteria for electronic access 
controls for low impact BES Cyber Systems consistent with the above 
discussion. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal.

B. Protection of Transient Electronic Devices

Order No. 822
    33. In Order No. 822, the Commission directed NERC to develop 
modifications to provide mandatory protection for transient electronic 
devices used at low impact BES Cyber Systems based on the risk posed to 
bulk electric system reliability. The Commission stated that such 
modifications ``will provide an important enhancement to the security 
posture of the bulk electric system by reinforcing the defense-in-depth 
nature of the CIP Reliability Standards at all impact levels.'' \38\ 
The Commission also stated that the proposed modifications should be 
designed to effectively address the risks posed by transient electronic 
devices used at low impact BES Cyber Systems ``in a manner that is 
consistent with the risk-based approach reflected in the CIP version 5 
Standards.'' \39\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \38\ Order No. 822, 154 FERC ] 61,037 at P 32 (emphasis in 
original).
    \39\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

NERC Petition
    34. In its Petition, NERC proposes to add a new section to 
Attachment 1 to proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 to require 
responsible entities to include controls in their cyber security plans 
to mitigate the risk of the introduction of malicious code to low 
impact BES Cyber Systems through the

[[Page 49546]]

use of ``Transient Cyber Assets or Removable Media.'' Specifically, 
proposed Section 5 of Attachment 1 lists controls to be applied to 
Transient Cyber Assets and Removable Media that NERC states ``will 
provide enhanced protections against the propagation of malware from 
transient devices.'' \40\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \40\ Id. at 26-27.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    35. NERC states that the language in proposed Section 5 to 
Attachment 1 parallels the language in Attachment 1 to Reliability 
Standard CIP-010-2, which addresses mitigation of the risks of the 
introduction of malicious code to high and medium impact BES Cyber 
Systems through the use of Transient Cyber Assets or Removable Media. 
NERC states further that, as in Reliability Standard CIP-010-2, 
proposed Section 5 distinguishes between Transient Cyber Assets managed 
by a responsible entity and those managed by a third-party; the 
distinction arising because of a responsible entity's lack of control 
over Transient Cyber Assets managed by a third-party. NERC explains 
that the proposed controls for Removable Media do not distinguish 
between the responsible entity-managed assets and third-party managed 
assets due to the functionality of Removable Media. NERC provides the 
example of a thumb drive that can be scanned prior to use regardless of 
which party manages the asset.\41\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \41\ Id. at 28.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    36. NERC explains that proposed Section 5 of Attachment 1 requires 
responsible entities to meet the security objectives ``by implementing 
the controls that the Responsible Entity determines necessary to meet 
its affirmative obligation to mitigate the risks of the introduction of 
malicious code.'' \42\ NERC states that the approach reflected in 
Section 5 provides the flexibility to implement the controls that best 
suit the needs and characteristics of a responsible entity's 
organization. NERC explains further that ``the Responsible Entity must 
demonstrate that its selected controls were designed to meet the 
security objective to mitigate the risk of the introduction of 
malicious code.'' \43\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \42\ Id.
    \43\ Id. at 29.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    37. NERC outlines certain distinctions between proposed Section 5 
of Attachment 1 to proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 and 
Attachment 1 to Reliability Standard CIP-010-2. Specifically, NERC 
states that proposed Section 5 does not include requirements relating 
to authorization or software vulnerabilities, as are contained in 
Attachment 1 to Reliability Standard CIP-010-2. NERC explains that this 
difference is consistent with the risk-based approach of the CIP 
Reliability Standards and ``the underlying principle of concentrating 
limited industry resources on protecting those BES Cyber Systems with 
greater risk to the BES.'' NERC states that Section 5 focuses on the 
risk associated with the introduction of malicious code.\44\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \44\ NERC Petition at 29.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    38. In addition, NERC states that proposed Section 5 to Attachment 
1 does not include language requiring a responsible entity to determine 
whether additional mitigation actions are necessary where a third party 
manages a Transient Cyber Asset, nor does it include language requiring 
a responsible entity to implement additional mitigation actions in such 
situations. NERC states that it nonetheless expects ``that if another 
party's processes and practices for protecting its Transient Cyber 
Assets do not provide reasonable assurance that they are designed to 
effectively meet the security objective of mitigating the introduction 
of malicious code, the Responsible Entity must take additional steps to 
meet the stated objective.'' \45\ NERC explains that if a third party's 
practices and policies do not provide reasonable assurance that the 
Transient Cyber Assets would be protected from malicious code, ``simply 
reviewing those policies and procedures without taking other steps to 
mitigate the risks of introduction of malicious code may not constitute 
compliance.'' \46\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \45\ Id. at 29-30.
    \46\ Id. at 30.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Commission Proposal
    39. NERC's proposed modifications in Reliability Standard CIP-003-
7, Requirement R2, Attachment 1, Section 5 that include malware 
detection and prevention controls for responsible entity-managed 
Transient Cyber Assets and Removable Media should improve the 
cybersecurity posture of responsibility entities compared to currently-
effective Reliability Standard CIP-003-6. The revisions in Section 5.2, 
however, do not address one aspect of the reliability gap identified in 
Order No. 822 regarding low impact BES Cyber Systems. Specifically, as 
noted above, proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 does not 
explicitly require mitigation of the introduction of malicious code 
from third-party managed Transient Cyber Assets, even if the 
responsible entity determines that the third-party's policies and 
procedures are inadequate.\47\ While the proposed Reliability Standard 
does not explicitly require mitigation of the introduction of malicious 
code from third-party managed Transient Cyber Assets, NERC states that 
the failure to mitigate this risk ``may not constitute compliance.'' 
\48\ NERC's statement suggests that, with regard to low impact BES 
Cyber Systems, the proposed requirement lacks an obligation for a 
responsible entity to correct any deficiencies that are discovered 
during a review of third-party Transient Cyber Asset management 
practices. Indeed, the parallel provision for high and medium impact 
BES Cyber Systems specifies that ``Responsible Entities shall determine 
whether any additional mitigation actions are necessary and implement 
such actions prior to connecting the Transient Cyber Asset.'' \49\ Yet, 
such language obligating mitigation action is not proposed for low 
impact BES Cyber Assets.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \47\ See NERC Petition at 29-30.
    \48\ Id. at 30.
    \49\ Reliability Standard CIP-010-2 (Cyber Security--
Configuration Change Management and Vulnerability Assessments), 
Requirement R4, Attachment 1, Section 2.3. In contrast, the 
obligations to ``review'' methods used by third-parties to detect 
and prevent malware are similar for lower, medium and high impact 
BES Cyber Assets. Cf. CIP-010-2, Attachment 1, Sections 2.1 and 2.2; 
and proposed CIP-010-3, Attachment 1, Section 3.2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    40. The proposed Reliability Standard may, therefore, contain a 
reliability gap where a responsible entity contracts with a third-party 
but fails to mitigate potential deficiencies discovered in the third-
party's malicious code detection and prevention practices prior to a 
Transient Cyber Asset being connected to a low impact BES Cyber System. 
That is because the proposed Reliability Standard does not contain: 1. 
A requirement for the responsible entity to mitigate any malicious code 
found during the third-party review(s); or 2. a requirement that the 
responsible entity take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks of third 
party malicious code on their systems, if an arrangement cannot be made 
for the third-party to do so. Without these obligations, we are 
concerned that responsible entities could, without compliance 
consequences, simply accept the risk of deficient third-party transient 
electronic device management practices.\50\ Moreover, the requirement 
to ``review'' methods used by third-parties to detect and prevent 
malware may fail to convey the necessary next steps that a responsible 
entity should take.\51\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \50\ See Order No. 706, 122 FERC ] 61,040 at P 150 (rejecting 
the concept of acceptance of risk in the CIP Reliability Standards).
    \51\ See Order No. 791, 145 FERC ] 61,160 at P 108.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 49547]]

    41. Therefore, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA, we propose 
to direct that NERC develop modifications to proposed Reliability 
Standard CIP-003-7 to address the need to mitigate the risk of 
malicious code that could result from third-party Transient Cyber 
Assets consistent with the above discussion. The Commission seeks 
comment on this proposal.

C. Proposed NERC Glossary Definitions

    42. Proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 includes two revised 
definitions for inclusion in the NERC Glossary. Specifically, NERC 
proposes to revise the definitions of Transient Cyber Asset and 
Removable Media in order to accommodate the use of the terms at all 
impact levels. NERC explains that the original definitions include 
references to concepts or requirements associated only with high and 
medium impact BES Cyber Systems and the definitions were modified to 
avoid confusion because protections for Transient Electronic Devices 
will now be extended to low impact BES Cyber Systems.\52\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \52\ NERC Petition at 30.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    43. In addition, NERC proposes to retire the definitions of LERC 
and LEAP. NERC states that the proposed retirement of the NERC Glossary 
terms LERC and LEAP accords with the proposed modifications to Section 
3 of Attachment 1 to proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 and is 
intended to simplify the electronic access control requirements for low 
impact BES Cyber Systems by avoiding the ambiguities associated with 
the term ``direct.'' NERC explains further that it ``recognized that 
distinguishing between `direct' and `indirect' electronic access within 
the LERC definition added a layer of unnecessary complexity.'' \53\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \53\ Id. at 16.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    44. We propose to approve the revised definitions of Transient 
Cyber Asset and Removable Media, as well as the retirement of the 
definitions of LERC and LEAP.

D. Implementation Plan and Effective Dates

    45. NERC requests an effective date for proposed Reliability 
Standard CIP-003-7 and the revised definitions of Transient Cyber Asset 
and Removable Media on the first day of the first calendar quarter that 
is eighteen months after the effective date of the Commission's order 
approving the proposed Reliability Standard. NERC explains that the 
proposed implementation plan does not alter the previously-approved 
compliance dates for Reliability Standard CIP-003-6 other than the 
compliance date for Reliability Standard CIP-003-6, Requirement R2, 
Attachment 1, Sections 2 and 3, which would be replaced with the 
effective date for proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7. NERC also 
proposes that the retirement of Reliability Standard CIP-003-6 and the 
associated definitions become effective on the effective date of 
proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7.\54\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \54\ Id., Exhibit C (Implementation Plan).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    46. We propose to approve NERC's implementation plan for proposed 
Reliability Standard CIP-003-7, as described above.

E. Violation Risk Factor/Violation Severity Level Assignments

    47. NERC requests approval of two violation risk factors and 
violation severity levels assigned to proposed Reliability Standard 
CIP-003-7. Specifically, NERC requests approval of violation risk 
factor and violation severity level assignments associated with 
Requirements R1 and R2 of Reliability Standard CIP-003-7.\55\ We 
propose to accept these violation risk factors and violation severity 
levels.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \55\ Id., Exhibit F (Analysis of Violation Risk Factors and 
Violation Severity Levels).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. Information Collection Statement

    48. The FERC-725B information collection requirements contained in 
this proposed rule are subject to review by the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) under section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act 
of 1995.\56\ OMB's regulations require approval of certain information 
collection requirements imposed by agency rules.\57\ Upon approval of a 
collection of information, OMB will assign an OMB control number and 
expiration date. Respondents subject to the filing requirements of this 
rule will not be penalized for failing to respond to these collections 
of information unless the collections of information display a valid 
OMB control number. The Commission solicits comments on the 
Commission's need for this information, whether the information will 
have practical utility, the accuracy of the burden estimates, ways to 
enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be 
collected or retained, and any suggested methods for minimizing 
respondents' burden, including the use of automated information 
techniques.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \56\ 44 U.S.C. 3507(d) (2012).
    \57\ 5 CFR 1320.11 (2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    49. The Commission bases its paperwork burden estimates on the 
changes in paperwork burden presented by the proposed revision to CIP 
Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 as compared to the current Commission-
approved Reliability Standard CIP-003-6. The Commission has already 
addressed the burden of implementing Reliability Standard CIP-003-
6.\58\ As discussed above, the immediate rulemaking addresses three 
areas of modification to the CIP Reliability Standards: 1. Clarifying 
the obligations pertaining to electronic access control for low impact 
BES Cyber Systems; 2. adopting mandatory security controls for 
transient electronic devices (e.g., thumb drives, laptop computers, and 
other portable devices frequently connected to and disconnected from 
systems) used at low impact BES Cyber Systems; and 3. requiring 
responsible entities to have a policy for declaring and responding to 
CIP Exceptional Circumstances related to low impact BES Cyber Systems.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \58\ See Order No. 822, 154 FERC ] 61,037 at PP 84-88.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    50. The NERC Compliance Registry, as of September 2017, identifies 
approximately 1,320 U.S. entities that are subject to mandatory 
compliance with Reliability Standards. Of this total, we estimate that 
1,100 entities will face an increased paperwork burden under proposed 
Reliability Standard CIP 003-7, estimating that a majority of these 
entities will have one or more low impact BES Cyber Systems. Based on 
these assumptions, we estimate the following reporting burden:

[[Page 49548]]



                                                                    RM17-11-000 NOPR
                             [Mandatory Reliability Standards for Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           Annual
                                                         number of      Total                                                                  Cost per
                                            Number of    responses    number of     Average burden & cost per   Total annual burden hours &   respondent
                                           respondents      per       responses         response \59\ (4)       total annual cost (3) * (4)   ($) (5) /
                                               (1)       respondent  (1) * (2) =                                           = (5)                 (1)
                                                            (2)          (3)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Create low impact TCA assets plan (one-          1,100            1        1,100  20 hrs.; $1,680.............  6,875 hrs.; $1,848,000.....       $1,680
 time) \60\.
Updates and reviews of low impact TCA            1,100     \62\ 300      330,000  1.5 hrs. \63\; $126.........  495,000 hrs.; $41,580,000..       37,800
 assets (ongoing) \61\.
Update/modify documentation to remove            1,100            1        1,100  20 hrs.; $1,680.............  6,875 hrs.; $1,848,000.....        1,680
 LERC and LEAP (one-time) \60\.
Update paperwork for access control              1,100            1        1,100  20 hrs.; $1,680.............  6,875 hrs.; $1,848,000.....        1,680
 implementation in Section 2 \64\ and
 Section 3 \65\ (ongoing) \61\.
                                          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total (one-time) \60\................  ...........  ...........        2,200  ............................  13,750 hrs.; $3,696,000      ...........
                                          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total (ongoing) \61\.................  ...........  ...........      331,100  ............................  501,875 hrs.; $43,428,000..  ...........
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    51. The following shows the annual cost burden for each group, 
based on the burden hours in the table above:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \59\ The loaded hourly wage figure (includes benefits) is based 
on the average of three occupational categories for 2016 found on 
the Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics2_22.htm):
    Legal (Occupation Code: 23-0000): $143.68.
    Electrical Engineer (Occupation Code: 17-2071): $68.12.
    Office and Administrative Support (Occupation Code: 43-0000): 
$40.89 ($143.68 + $68.12 + $40.89) / 3 = $84.23. The figure is 
rounded to $84.00 for use in calculating wage figures in this NOPR.
    \60\ This one-time burden applies in Year One only.
    \61\ This ongoing burden applies in Year 2 and beyond.
    \62\ We estimate that each entity will perform 25 updates per 
month. 25 updates *12 months = 300 updates (i.e. responses) per 
year.
    \63\ The 1.5 hours of burden per response is comprised of three 
sub-categories:
    Updates to managed low TCA assets: 15 minutes (0.25 hours) per 
response.
    Updates to unmanaged low TCA assets: 60 minutes (1 hour) per 
response.
    Reviews of low TCA applicable controls: 15 minutes (0.25 hours) 
per response.
    \64\ Physical Security Controls.
    \65\ Electronic Access Controls.

     Year 1: $3,696,000.
     Years 2 and 3: $43,428,000.
     The paperwork burden estimate includes costs associated 
with the initial development of a policy to address requirements 
relating to: 1. Clarifying the obligations pertaining to electronic 
access control for low impact BES Cyber Systems; 2. adopting mandatory 
security controls for transient electronic devices (e.g., thumb drives, 
laptop computers, and other portable devices frequently connected to 
and disconnected from systems) used at low impact BES Cyber Systems; 
and 3. requiring responsible entities to have a policy for declaring 
and responding to CIP Exceptional Circumstances related to low impact 
BES Cyber Systems. Further, the estimate reflects the assumption that 
costs incurred in year 1 will pertain to policy development, while 
costs in years 2 and 3 will reflect the burden associated with 
maintaining logs and other records to demonstrate ongoing compliance.
    52. Title: Mandatory Reliability Standards, Revised Critical 
Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards
    Action: Proposed Collection FERC-725B.
    OMB Control No.: 1902-0248.
    Respondents: Businesses or other for-profit institutions; not-for-
profit institutions.
    Frequency of Responses: On Occasion.
    Necessity of the Information: This proposed rule proposes to 
approve the requested modifications to Reliability Standards pertaining 
to critical infrastructure protection. As discussed above, the 
Commission proposes to approve NERC's proposed revised CIP Reliability 
Standard CIP-003-7 pursuant to section 215(d)(2) of the FPA because it 
improves upon the currently-effective suite of cyber security CIP 
Reliability Standards.
    Internal Review: The Commission has reviewed the proposed 
Reliability Standards and made a determination that its action is 
necessary to implement section 215 of the FPA.
    53. Interested persons may obtain information on the reporting 
requirements by contacting the following: Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426 [Attention: 
Ellen Brown, Office of the Executive Director, email: 
[email protected], phone: (202) 502-8663, fax: (202) 273-0873].
    54. For submitting comments concerning the collection(s) of 
information and the associated burden estimate(s), please send your 
comments to the Commission, and to the Office of Management and Budget, 
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503 
[Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 
phone: (202) 395-4638, fax: (202) 395-7285]. For security reasons, 
comments to OMB should be submitted by email to: 
[email protected]. Comments submitted to OMB should include 
Docket Number RM17-11-000 and OMB Control Number 1902-0248.

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    55. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) generally requires 
a description and analysis of proposed rules that will have significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.\66\ The 
Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Size Standards develops 
the numerical definition of a small business.\67\ The SBA revised its 
size standard for electric utilities (effective January 22, 2014) to a 
standard based on the number of employees, including affiliates (from 
the prior standard based on megawatt hour sales).\68\ Proposed 
Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 is expected to impose an additional 
burden on 1,100 entities \69\ (reliability coordinators, generator 
operators, generator owners, interchange coordinators or authorities, 
transmission operators, balancing authorities,

[[Page 49549]]

transmission owners, and certain distribution providers).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \66\ 5 U.S.C. 601-12 (2012).
    \67\ 13 CFR 121.101 (2017).
    \68\ SBA Final Rule on ``Small Business Size Standards: 
Utilities,'' 78 FR 77343 (Dec. 23, 2013).
    \69\ Public utilities may fall under one of several different 
categories, each with a size threshold based on the company's number 
of employees, including affiliates, the parent company, and 
subsidiaries. For the analysis in this NOPR, we are using a 500 
employee threshold due to each affected entity falling within the 
role of Electric Bulk Power Transmission and Control (NAISC Code: 
221121).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    56. Of the 1,100 affected entities discussed above, we estimate 
that approximately 857 or 78 percent \70\ of the affected entities are 
small. As discussed above, proposed Reliability Standard CIP-003-7 
enhances reliability by providing criteria against which NERC and the 
Commission can evaluate the sufficiency of an entity's electronic 
access controls for low impact BES Cyber systems, as well as improved 
security controls for transient electronic devices (e.g., thumb drives, 
laptop computers, and other portable devices frequently connected to 
and disconnected from systems). We estimate that each of the 857 small 
entities to whom the proposed modifications to Reliability Standard 
CIP-003-7 applies will incur one-time costs of approximately $3,360 per 
entity to implement this standard, as well as the ongoing paperwork 
burden reflected in the Information Collection Statement (approximately 
$39,480 per year per entity). We do not consider the estimated costs 
for these 857 small entities to be a significant economic impact.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \70\ 77.95 percent.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    57. Based on the above analysis, we propose to certify that the 
proposed Reliability Standard will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities.

V. Environmental Analysis

    58. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental 
Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement for any action that may 
have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.\71\ The 
Commission has categorically excluded certain actions from this 
requirement as not having a significant effect on the human 
environment. Included in the exclusion are rules that are clarifying, 
corrective, or procedural or that do not substantially change the 
effect of the regulations being amended.\72\ The actions proposed 
herein fall within this categorical exclusion in the Commission's 
regulations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \71\ Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, Order No. 486, FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 30,783 (1987).
    \72\ 18 CFR 380.4(a)(2)(ii) (2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

VI. Comment Procedures

    59. The Commission invites interested persons to submit comments on 
the matters and issues proposed in this notice to be adopted, including 
any related matters or alternative proposals that commenters may wish 
to discuss. Comments are due December 26, 2017. Comments must refer to 
Docket No. RM17-11-000, and must include the commenter's name, the 
organization they represent, if applicable, and address.
    60. The Commission encourages comments to be filed electronically 
via the eFiling link on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov. The Commission accepts most standard word processing 
formats. Documents created electronically using word processing 
software should be filed in native applications or print-to-PDF format 
and not in a scanned format. Commenters filing electronically do not 
need to make a paper filing.
    61. Commenters that are not able to file comments electronically 
must send an original of their comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., 
Washington, DC 20426.
    62. All comments will be placed in the Commission's public files 
and may be viewed, printed, or downloaded remotely as described in the 
Document Availability section below. Commenters on this proposal are 
not required to serve copies of their comments on other commenters.

VII. Document Availability

    63. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the 
Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an 
opportunity to view and/or print the contents of this document via the 
Internet through the Commission's Home Page (http://www.ferc.gov) and 
in the Commission's Public Reference Room during normal business hours 
(8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time) at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, 
Washington, DC 20426.
    64. From the Commission's Home Page on the Internet, this 
information is available on eLibrary. The full text of this document is 
available on eLibrary in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, 
printing, and/or downloading. To access this document in eLibrary, type 
the docket number of this document, excluding the last three digits, in 
the docket number field.
    65. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the Commission's 
Web site during normal business hours from the Commission's Online 
Support at 202-502-6652 (toll free at 1-866-208-3676) or email at 
[email protected], or the Public Reference Room at (202) 502-
8371, TTY (202) 502-8659. Email the Public Reference Room at 
[email protected].


    By direction of the Commission.

    Issued October 19, 2017.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2017-23287 Filed 10-25-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6717-01-P