Water utility suffers cyber incident

A water utility reported a cyber incident when remote users experienced difficulties logging into the control systems, according to an ICS-CERT report.

04/26/2011


A water utility reported a cyber incident when remote users experienced difficulties logging into the control systems, according to an ICS-CERT report.

Offsite and onsite analyses revealed the cause of the incident was general crimeware and was not a targeted attack, ICS-CERT said. The utility’s control systems did not suffer any repercussions as a result of the incident. ICS-CERT did not name the utility.

As a result of the event, ICS-CERT coordinated with the FBI, state, and local law enforcement during and after the incident.

While onsite, ICS-CERT reviewed network topologies and control systems architecture and evaluated the water utility’s current security and detection measures.

They also provided mitigations and made recommendations for strengthening the existing cyber security and incident detection mechanisms. The water utility has since sanitized its systems and implemented stronger and tighter security practices.

Some of the general lessons learned include:

  • Secure remote access with VPNs or two-factor authentication. For more information about configuring and managing remote access, review Configuring and Managing Remote Access for industrial Control Systems.
  • Prepare for incidents with a formalized incident response plan. Enable logging and leverage the static nature of a control system to look for anomalies. Retain logs for a sufficient amount of time.
  • Understand how to preserve forensic data for analysis and reporting when an incident occurs. Capture forensic images of the system memory and hard drive prior to powering down the system. Also, avoid running antivirus software “after the fact” as the AV scan changes critical file dates and impedes discovery and analysis of suspected malicious files and timelines.

Understand, even with the best cyber defense mechanisms in place, incidents will likely occur.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Controller programming; Safety networks; Enclosure design; Power quality; Safety integrity levels; Increasing process efficiency
Additive manufacturing benefits; HMI and sensor tips; System integrator advice; Innovations from the industry
Robotic safety, collaboration, standards; DCS migration tips; IT/OT convergence; 2017 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This article collection contains several articles on how automation and controls are helping human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software advance.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me