|Target: Water Utilities|
Water Utilities play a critical role in our society. They provide fresh, potable water to residents, businesses and industry as well as manage the wastewater from them. As with other utilities and critical infrastructure, they are increasingly a target for hackers, terrorists, and hostile nation states. A successful hack can contaminate the fresh water supply, impair availability or cause an environmental disaster. It’s a direct risk to the health of the local population and supply chains which depend on readily available fresh water and wastewater management.
Becoming a Hard Target
Managing the risks isn’t trivial, but it’s not rocket science either –the science of cyber security has greatly matured over the past 20 years. The following 5 steps are key to a water utility becoming a hard target that is resistant to cyberattacks. Assess your overall cyber security program. Test your organization’s current readiness to cyber attacks on an annual basis by assessing both your external perimeter and your internal networks. Make sure you include both the IT and the OT (SCADA) sides of the house. Perform ongoing vulnerability management throughout the year. Make sure you have someone watching for suspicious security events. Lastly, make sure you have a Cyber Security Incident Response (CSIR) program in place. Because a cyber security incident is a question of when, not if, you must have a plan in place before it happens.
Strength In Numbers
Recognizing the critical importance of the water supply, leading water associations in the U.S., along with the U.S. federal government, have become increasingly organized in the defense of this essential infrastructure. A key part of this organization has been the formation of the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center (WaterISAC). Authorized by the United States’ 2002 Bioterrorism Act, the WaterISAC is the key security information source for all threats impacting water and wastewater systems. In support of their mission, they have developed the 15 Cybersecurity Fundamentals for Water & Wastewater Utilities. As part of their ongoing education and outreach, WaterISAC recently invited nGuard to speak about some of these key cybersecurity concepts at an association meeting. You can watch this webinar below.