Cyber Concerns for Water

Although DHS reports that, overall, the number of cyberattacks in 2014 that targeted critical infrastructure decreased by 9 percent over the previous year, the fact remains that cyber threats to power grids, oil pipelines, and other key systems continues to grow. The Industrial Control Systems-Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) 2014 Year in Review report also explains that about 32 percent of all cyber security incidents reported to them in 2014 come from the energy sector – the single largest target among all 16 critical infrastructure sectors.  Slightly less than 15 percent come from the water sector.

While the reported incidents can range from simple phishing to significant and chronic software hacking and hijacking attacks, water sector utilities need to be vigilant about the potential impacts to their own abilities to function from these energy-centered attacks.  State primacy agencies, likewise, need to better understand the energy-water nexus if the worst comes to pass.  Education and awareness about cyber security threats and consequences are our collective responsibility.

To learn more about the cyber issues and concerns across all of the critical infrastructure sectors, go to https://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ICS-CERT%20YIR%202014.pdf.

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