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US fears hackers are conducting major strikes on water systems

A hooded guy carries a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration photo shot on May 13, 2017

WASHINGTON, March 20 (mod1s) - The U.S. government is alerting state governors that foreign hackers are carrying out disruptive assaults on water and sewage systems around the country. 

In a letter issued Tuesday, opens new tab, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan warned that "disabling cyberattacks are striking water and wastewater systems throughout the United States."

The letter singled out accused Iranian and Chinese cyber saboteurs. Sullivan and Regan referenced a recent example in which hackers suspected of operating in coordination with Iran's Revolutionary Guards had disabled a controller, opens new tab at a water plant in Pennsylvania. They also called out a Chinese hacking outfit nicknamed "Volt Typhoon" which they claimed had "compromised information technology of multiple critical infrastructure systems, including drinking water, in the United States and its territories."

"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," the letter read. 

China's Embassy in Washington and Iran's mission to the United Nations did not immediately answer a message seeking comment. Both nations have in the past denied carrying out cyberattacks
The digital safety of water and sewage plants has long been a concern for cybersecurity specialists since the facilities offer an essential function and may frequently be weakly secured. Last year's hack at a booster plant - which monitors and controls water pressure - in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania received special notice, opens new tab in part because the stricken controller was replaced with a warning saying: "YOU HAVE BEEN HACKED."

No damage to the water system was recorded, although, in a statement, opens new tab Issued at the time, an industry association called the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center claimed "this may not be an isolated incident." 

Tuesday's letter called on governors to "ensure that all water systems in your state comprehensively assess their current cybersecurity practices" and prepare for any cyber catastrophes.


Source: https://www.reuters.com/

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