Governors warned of cyber threats on water infrastructure – Statesman Journal

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Oregon’s Enterprise Information Services, the agency charged with the maintenance and security of the state’s technology systems, are reviewing recommendations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and White House about potential cyber attacks on water infrastructure.

In their letter to governors, EPA Administrator Michael Regan and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan cited two “recent and ongoing” threats from “actors” linked to the Iranian Government Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and a Chinese state-sponsored cyber group known as Volt Typhoon.

They referenced foreign hackers late last year breached the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa in western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, disabling controllers used to control and monitor water processes and wastewater treatment. In that case, the water authority took the system offline and switched to manual operations.

Gov. Tina Kotek’s staff confirmed the governor’s office received the letter Tuesday.

“Enterprise Information Services (EIS) will be reviewing the recommendations from the EPA to determine what opportunities exist to further safeguard water infrastructure against cyber-attacks,” Kotek’s staff said in an email to the Statesman Journal.

EIS declined to discuss any specifics, saying doing so could inform “bad actors of gaps.”

The letter to the governors invited states’ environmental, health and homeland security secretaries to join a meeting scheduled for Thursday afternoon to discuss recommended improvements needed to protect critical water infrastructure against cyber threats.

“Drinking water and wastewater systems are an attractive target for cyberattacks because they are a lifeline critical infrastructure sector but often lack the resources and technical capacity to adopt rigorous cybersecurity practices,” said the letter from Regan and Sullivan.

Dianne Lugo covers the Oregon Legislature and equity issues. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @DianneLugo

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