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Title: Protecting drinking water utilities from cyberthreats

Cyber-security challenges have the potential for becoming one of the defining issues of our time. Cyber-attacks have become an ever-increasing threat and the United States (US) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) now ranks cyber-crime as one of its most important law enforcement activities. In addition to the general problems associated with cyber-crime, critical infrastructure (CI) related to energy production, manufacturing, water supply and other systems have come under attack. For example, drinking water utilities are increasingly incorporating computer technology into their routine operations and are therefore increasingly vulnerable to cyber- threats. Systems control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems used to manage automated physical processes essential to water treatment and distribution systems have become standard in medium to large drinking water utilities and in many small water systems. However, even with the application of standard information technology cybersecurity best practices these types of systems have proven to be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. In 2015, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responded to 25 cybersecurity incidents in the Water Sector and to 46 incidents in the Energy Sector. Comparatively, between 2014 and 2015, the reported number of Water Sector incidents actually increased by 78.6% (from 14 to 25). The DHS is inmore » a collaborative partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency to ensure cybersecurity in the Water Sector. As a result of this partnership a number of guidance documents and techniques have been developed to counter cyber-attacks and minimize cyber vulnerability. These approaches are documented along with a summary of common vulnerabilities. However, a new approach which has great promise in protecting drinking water systems against hacking and cyber-attacks, based on the concept of unidirectional gateways, is presented and discussed.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Environmental and Public Health Consultant, Cincinnati, OH (United States)
  2. CB&I Federal Services LLC, Cincinnati, OH (United States)
  3. Cybersecurity Consultant, Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
  4. Control Systems Engineer, Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0003-150X
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of the American Water Works Association
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 109; Journal ID: ISSN 0003-150X
American Water Works Association
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS; cybersecurity; water
OSTI Identifier: