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  • U.S. Water and Wastewater Systems Sector facilities breached multiple times

    Home » Forums » Code Red – Security/Privacy advisories » U.S. Water and Wastewater Systems Sector facilities breached multiple times

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    #2396146

    U.S. Water and Wastewater Systems (WWS) Sector facilities have been breached multiple times in ransomware attacks during the last two years, U.S. government agencies said in a joint advisory on Thursday.

    The advisory also mentions ongoing malicious activity targeting WWS facilities that could lead to ransomware attacks affecting their ability to provide potable water by effectively managing their wastewater.

    https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/us-government-discloses-more-ransomware-attacks-on-water-plants/

    This is the most compelling argument against “toilet-to-tap” civic recycling systems I have yet seen.

    OK…that’s it. Time to go find that cave up in the hills and wait until the whole mess falls in.

    With a portable water purifier, among other things.

    Rainwater catch bins and decon systems, anyone?

    Win7 Pro SP1 64-bit, Dell Latitude E6330, Intel CORE i5 "Ivy Bridge", 12GB RAM, Group "0Patch", Multiple Air-Gapped backup drives in different locations. Linux Mint Greenhorn
    --
    "Sure I had a plan; Everybody's got a plan until you get hit in the teeth."

    -A Very Famous Boxer

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    • #2396345

      According to the “bleepingcomputer” article:

      Attackers had also infiltrated WWS plants’ networks attempting to poison the drinking water, as it happened in March 2019 when a former employee at Kansas-based WWS facility failed in his attempt to use unrevoked credentials for malicious purposes after he resigned.

      While not included in the advisory, an unknown threat actor also gained access to the water treatment system for Oldsmar, Florida, in February 2021 and tried to poison the town’s drinking water by raising the levels of chemicals used to clean wastewater to hazardous levels.

      So: poisoning the wells, not a popular activity for a very long time now.

      To secure WWS facilities—including Department of Defense (DoD) water treatment facilities in the United States and abroad— [..] , CISA, FBI, EPA, and NSA strongly urge organizations to implement the measures described in the Recommended Mitigations section of this advisory,” the joint advisory says.

      Perhaps those who do not protect adequately the water supply they are in charge of might not be given more that one warning before steps are taken to get their attention more forcibly?

      And finally, as the weather changes progressively world-wide, with more, longer and worse droughts, recycling waste water into drinking one is increasingly less of a matter of preference and more one of necessity. The well-known situation last year in the city of Cape Town, for example, is a good reason to think about this:

      https://time.com/cape-town-south-africa-water-crisis/

      Excerpt (emphasis is mine):

      Millions of people around the world live without sufficient access to water. But Cape Town is no developing-world urban quagmire. It is a prosperous metropolis, a well-managed global tourist destination responsible for 9.9% of South Africa’s GDP, full of multimillion-dollar beach­front properties, art museums and two of the world’s top 50 restaurants. Cape Town running out of water is like San Diego going dry. Which, if you factor in the looming threat of climate change, may not be that far off. California’s five-year drought, which ended in 2016, had state officials scrambling to enact their own water restrictions. At one point, NASA warned that the state had less than a year’s supply in its reservoirs.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

    • #2397561

      Of course another question is: if you can’t/wouldn’t do the homework/spending to fully secure these systems, why in the great cosmos would you have them connected to the internet in the first place? 🤬

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2397589

        Wavy: ” … why in the great cosmos would you have them connected to the internet in the first place?

        Could “social engineering”, for example, have something to do with that? After all, the offices of the water treatment facilities are most likely all connected to the Internet and even (harp music here, please) THE CLOUD, same as the office of pretty much any commercial, non-profit and government outfit is connected to these days. Those connected office computers and “devices”, in turn, might not be completely isolated, no matter how much electronic insulating duct-tape is used, from the servers and other components of the supposedly water-tight LAN that controls the actual workings of the installation. Really good-bad black hats, for example in the service of a not-very friendly nation state, with the most advanced, military-grade software at their disposal, could find ways into the control of a water processing plant using the most devious and technologically advanced means.

        Leaving aside the malintentioned acts of disgruntled employees and ordinary crooks, in the past, if you were in charge of a government that wanted to attack and disable, among other things, the water plants of another country and make their use unreliable and even the quality of the still available water mistrusted by the population under attack, you had to fly bombers to drop explosives on the installations, risking to have them taken out by flak fire from antiaircraft ground defenses. No longer, thanks to the marvel of science known as the Internet. Soon to be universally followed by the IoT!!!

        What is going on, as I understand it, is war by other means. Governments should take it as such. This, I believe, is the world we live in. So, if I am right, then is better to get well-acquainted with it. Fast.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

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