When hackers threatened the water supply in Oldsmar, Fla., last month, it highlighted the critical importance of these utilities — along with their placement in the cross hairs of cybercriminals around the world.
“Since Florida, a lot of folks have become aware that this very possibly could happen to their utilities,” said Sielen Namdar, Cisco’s global water business lead. “And the last thing utilities want is to endanger the public.”
Unfortunately, too many water utilities depend on backward technologies, with little visibility into just what is happening in their networks or physical infrastructures. In Oldsmar, for example, hackers took advantage of a remote-access system that was beyond their security perimeter. And when levels of lye approached dangerous levels, it was blind luck that an operator happened to notice.