White House Warns Governors of ‘Disabling Cyberattacks’ On Nation’s Water Systems

The White House is warning the nation's governors of "disabling cyberattacks" on water systems, carried out by state-backed hackers....
White House Warns Governors of ‘Disabling Cyberattacks’ On Nation’s Water Systems
Written by Matt Milano
  • The White House is warning the nation’s governors of “disabling cyberattacks” on water systems, carried out by state-backed hackers.

    The letter, dated March 18, 2024, was sent to governors, warning about attacks on both water and wastewater systems. The Biden administration singled out “threat actors affiliated with the Iranian Government Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” as well as those sponsored by the People’s Republic of China.

    Disabling cyberattacks are striking water and wastewater systems throughout the United States. 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. We are writing to describe the nature of these threats and request your partnership on important actions to secure water systems against the increasing risks from and consequences of these attacks.

    The administration warns that water systems make an appealing target, both or the vital role they provide, as well as the limited resources many have to implement proper cybersecurity practices.

    The administration is asking governors for their help accessing and securing water systems.

    We need your support to ensure that all water systems in your state comprehensively assess their current cybersecurity practices to identify any significant vulnerabilities, deploy practices and controls to reduce cybersecurity risks where needed, and exercise plans to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a cyber incident. In many cases, even basic cybersecurity precautions – such as resetting default passwords or updating software to address known vulnerabilities – are not in place and can mean the difference between business as usual and a disruptive cyberattack. The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) website has a list of actions water and wastewater systems can take to reduce risk and improve protections against malicious cyber activity.

    The White House is planning a meeting with governors’ Environmental, Health and Homeland Security Secretaries to discuss further steps that can be taken to protect the nation’s water and wastewater systems.

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