The Overview of Cyber Threats on Water Facilities

Audio Transcript

So what are some of these threats that are impacting specifically the water and wastewater facilities um I’ll start at the 11 o’clock position and make my way counterclockwise so ransomware is one of the cornerstones that the hackers use to monetize these efforts?

it’s no surprise that year and year the actual monetization and fees demanded to get data back or get passwords back or increasing exponentially but also you’re starting to see a little bit of espionage and issues with remote connectivity so covid has ushered in a new era of work from home and that’s also remote connectivity for the water and wastewater facilities for remote management remote sensors what have you but every time you have a different connection being remote it actually opens up another potential threat vector and so those are starting to be exploited if they’re not secured point to point SCADA attacks are increasingly on the rise SCADA systems typically are in production for 10 to 15 years plus and takes multiple years to replace those systems very costly very time consuming as these systems that weren’t originally designed to come online are now starting to come online.

This is opening up a whole slew of different problems some that can be patched some that can as you’re starting to see is the lowest entry point also be on the actual SCADA networks themselves phishing attacks it’s self-explanatory that’s one’s always been out there even on the i.t side of the house trying to get users data passwords spoofing attacks via emails typically the most common method there but the last two attacks on command center so this is the command center where you can orchestrate all the different parameters inside the water wastewater utility the chemical levels what have.

Similarly related the valve controls in order to increase the pressure of potential elements or release water or potentially release chemicals as you saw in the Florida attack as well so all these different things are starting to concatenate of potential threats they’re impacting the water and wastewater facility and actually those are actual those can have catastrophic effects to where it can actually kill people um so that’s definitely something that is definitely on the top of the federal government’s notice watch list for critical infrastructure.

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