Editor's Pick

“Disabling cyberattacks” are hitting critical US water systems, White House warns

Enlarge / Aerial view of a sewage treatment plant. (credit: Getty Images)

The Biden administration on Tuesday warned the nation’s governors that drinking water and wastewater utilities in their states are facing “disabling cyberattacks” by hostile foreign nations that are targeting mission-critical plant operations.

“Disabling cyberattacks are striking water and wastewater systems throughout the United States,” Jake Sullivan, assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and Michael S. Regan, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, wrote in a letter. “These attacks have the potential to disrupt the critical lifeline of clean and safe drinking water, as well as impose significant costs on affected communities.”

The letter cited two recent hacking threats water utilities have faced from groups backed by hostile foreign countries. One incident occurred when hackers backed by the government of Iran disabled operations gear used in water facilities that still used a publicly known default administrator password. The letter didn’t name the facility by name, but details included in a linked advisory tied the hack to one that struck the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa in western Pennsylvania last November. In that case, the hackers compromised a programmable logic controller made by Unitronics and made the device screen display an anti-Israeli message. Utility officials responded by temporarily shutting down a pump that provided drinking water to local townships.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

What's your reaction?

In Love
Not Sure

You may also like