Cybersecurity: The Latest Challenge for Local Water Utilities

Apr 2, 2021

For eight years, state CIOs have named cybersecurity their No. 1 concern. Last year, schools saw a record number of cyber attacks, causing education stakeholders to request more action from federal policymakers. 

But not many people had considered the possibility of a water utility being hacked until an attempt to poison any of the 15,000 citizens of Oldsmar, Fla., was thwarted in February. 

Kristen Sanders, chief information security officer of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, said she had gotten the sense that smaller water utilities didn’t believe they could end up in the crosshairs of a hacker. 

“When you talk to them, they kind of feel like the energy industry is much more of a target than water utilities,” Sanders explained, later adding that she thinks the passage of America’s Water Infrastructure Act has made more utilities take a harder look at their cybersecurity postures. 

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