The water and wastewater treatment industry is facing cybersecurity threats. The risks affect the sector disproportionately compared to other utilities, given local-level water processing operations.
Along with physically securing its critical infrastructure, the water industry has to leverage available tools to protect against cyber attacks, an expert says.
The need to protect the security of water resources has extended through time, says Maj. Colin Brooks, USA, a signal officer who is an assistant professor of military science at the University of Massachusetts. “There are terrorist threats where water facilities are targeted, and that’s nothing new,” says Maj. Brooks, who also teaches history. “In fact, in the 1930s, J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, was concerned about possible Nazi infiltration and risks of damage to the water sector,” he says. “In the 1970s there were attacks on the water sector by neo-Nazi groups.” More recently, al-Qaida operatives abroad were found to have the diagrams of water systems supplying the U.S. consulate in a foreign country. “So it’s known to be something being targeted by terrorists,” he notes.