November 22, 2011

A recent cyber attack at a water utility in Illinois has sparked debate over how vulnerable U.S. critical infrastructure is to cyber intrusion. CQ Homeland Security’s Rob Margetta interviewed Catalyst Principal Vance Taylor on what the attack means for water security and America’s critical infrastructure protection efforts. Here is an excerpt.

Water System Hacks Show the Dangers of Online Access – CQ Homeland

Any water system supervisors nervous about this past weekend’s hacking incidents in Illinois and Texas might consider a drastic form of cybersecurity: going offline.

The recent attacks used different methods, their perpetrators appeared to have different motivations and they achieved different results. But both showed that hackers consider water utilities as potential targets.

L. Vance Taylor, a lobbyist for the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, said the recent hacks could serve as a call to action for anyone seeking to attack the sector. Water utilities need to be able to respond, and the government needs to help them develop the resources to do so, he said.

“I think water systems would do well to take their systems offline,” he said. “This shines a light on what I would call the soft underbelly of the sector.”


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