Water Utility: Under-Known Targets
There are a number of high value targets in the market for the attackers to pursue. The attackers have the opportunity for 15 minutes of fame, and data to exfiltrate. One industry not given the positive attention by cybersecurity community has been the water utility industry. The service they provide is required by civilization. Any issue with the process has the potential to be a disaster for anyone or business using the water after processing.
A recent issue occurred in North Carolina at the Onslow Water and Sewer Authority. The water utility’s computers, including PCs and servers were attacked. The perpetrator attempted to use ransomware.
This was not a complete success for the attackers. The utility’s customer information was not compromised during the attack, however, other databases were affected. The attacks began on October 3, 2018. Fortunately, the compromise was limited. If this had pivoted to other points within the business, which could have managed the water purification process.
This does however highlight an issue. The water processing industry has not been receiving the attention it should have been. The issues presented by the industry are rather pertinent to consumers and the commercial sector. With adulterated water, the effects have the tendency to be rather serious.
AP. (2018, October 15). Feds investigate after hackers attack water utility. Retrieved from http://www.hastingstribune.com/feds-investigate-after-hackers-attack-water-utility/
AP. (2018, October 16). Feds investigate after hackers attack water utility. Retrieved from https://www.securityweek.com/feds-investigate-after-hackers-attack-water-utility
Associated Press. (2018, October 15). Feds investigate after hackers attack water utility. Retrieved from https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/oct/15/feds-investigate-after-hackers-attack-water-util/
Associated Press. (2018, October 15). Feds investigate after hackers attack water utility. Retrieved from https://www.wsoctv.com/news/north-carolina/feds-investigate-after-hackers-attack-wate-utility/853625381/
The State. (2018, October 15). Feds investigate after hackers attack water utility. Retrieved from https://www.thestate.com/news/business/national-business/article220064300.html
About the Author - Charles Parker, II has been working in the info sec field for over a decade, performing pen tests, vulnerability assessments, consulting with small- to medium-sized businesses to mitigate and remediate their issues, and preparing IT and info sec policies and procedures. Mr. Parker’s background includes work in the banking, medical, automotive, and staffing industries.