To arm Russian hackers in the water sector

During the Ukraine invasion, the water sector began preparing for a possible cyber attack in Russia.

Today, water utilities across the country are equipped with online attacks and misinformation campaigns that could lead to drinking water pollution, service interruptions and redemption claims.

“We have no evidence that anything has happened or that anything will happen,” said Michael Arsenow, chief operating officer of the Metropolitan Water Agencies Association and managing director of Water Risk Management. .

“Russia has the capacity to do what it wants to do. [the National Security Agency] He has the ability to do what he wants to do. ” “Whether you do it or not is another question, and which target is another question.”

Before last year’s Christmas, EPA and WaterISAC began sending joint recommendations, urging them to keep an eye on water utilities and increase their workload on weekends and holidays, according to Arsenix.

“Some people think that this is a good time to start a nation like Russia [impacting] American property owners and operators say nothing has happened during the holidays but calls on the federal government to step up its response to key infrastructure operators and make the best of their experiences.

On Friday, senior White House officials warned of possible cyber-attacks by US companies – particularly in the water sector – and by censorship of Ukrainian targets.

Anne Nuberger, a national security adviser for cybersecurity and emerging technology, told reporters that the US government was focused on protecting key infrastructure and was preparing for a possible “cyber-attack” from Russia.Energy wireFebruary 23).

Nieberger said there were no known “special or credible cyber threats” in the United States at the time, but added that the government was focusing on critical systems, including the water sector.

“So, in general, when we look at ourselves as a community, we know that infrastructure is our focus – because critical services such as energy and water affect our citizens in the United States quickly, to improve our domestic resilience,” he said.

“Especially since energy, communication and water are affecting the lives of Americans and we need to address security and resilience as these sectors need to be addressed digitally quickly. [standpoint]We have made great strides in this first year, ”she said.

In January, the Biden administration launched a 100-day action plan (voluntary strategy) to protect water systems from a weakening of the colonial oil pipeline (JBS) last year.GreenwireJanuary 27)

President Biden’s Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Cyber ​​Security Initiative, a multi-agency strategy, is a partnership between government and industry to deploy cyber security technologies and increase monitoring between power utilities and pipelines.

Over the past year, a number of water service providers have been undergoing cyber-attacks on their systems, which in some cases has led to a ransom.Greenwire, May 21, 2021). In the case of energy and water systems, hackers are forcing companies to shut down or go offline and then open computers for a fee and recycle and operate plants, a growing and profitable business.

Weaknesses in water resources vary, According to Arsène, small suppliers and resources with low bandwidth are vulnerable to attack.

Arceneaux says it is important for water service providers to be vigilant and to prevent access to sensitive and unique passwords and multi-factor authentication from third parties. They should also be able to work by hand and follow best practices, including providing surgical support to get up and run after an attack.

He acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat Russia’s foreign policy, but sought to justify military action, saying “for almost three years now we have been in Russia.

“I have heard that senior DHS officials have assumed that all critical infrastructure in Russia and other nations is in your system, they are stealing your information, they are looking around, they are looking at what they can do if they want to,” he said. . “It’s a more serious, scary strategy, and yet it is very destructive.”

Contributed by Christian Vasquez.

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