The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously approved grid cyberspace security standards that aim to thwart system blackouts caused by hackers. \u201cToday we achieve a milestone by adopting the first mandatory and enforceable reliability standards that address cyber security concerns on the bulk power system in the United States,\u201d said FERC chair Joe Kelliher at the commission\u2019s January 17 meeting. The standards, added commission member Jon Wellinghoff, \u201clook at these threats straight in the eye.\u201d There are more than 500 transmission owners across the county, which are electronically connected to the transmission system. A more connected grid, however, translates into increased vulnerabilities. \u201cThey are not walled off cities but are a lattice of interconnections,\u201d noted commissioner Phil Moeller. \u201cThis is similar to the Y2K transition,\u201d Moeller added. Y2K is shorthand for concerns at the turn of the century that there would be widespread computer glitches. Many believed that the systems\u2019 internal clocks were not programmed for the year 2000 and would flip to zero, causing reverberating problems from computers crashing to compromised Internet sites. This week, the commission specifically approved eight mandatory standards proposed by the North American Electricity Reliability Corporation. During the meeting, federal regulators directed NERC to develop rule modifications to avoid \u201ca one-size-fits-all\u201d approach. They include possible changes regarding oversight, cyber security protections, and exemptions. Exceptions are needed, in particular, for aging equipment that was designed before the cyberspace era, according to Regis Binder, the commission\u2019s Office of Electricity and Reliability acting director.