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U.S. authorities disclose ransomware attacks against water facilities By Reuters



Joseph Menn

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters), – The U.S. authorities announced Thursday that the ransomware attack had affected four wastewater and water facilities over the past year. Similar plants were warned to inspect for any signs and take precautions.

Cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency alerted that there were at least three distinct ransomware strains used in hacking. Ransomware encrypts computers files and asks for payment.

An attack on an unnamed Maine wastewater facility in June and another in California in August paralyzed special supervisory control devices (SCADA), which give mechanical commands.

According to the alert, which was signed by FBI and National Security Agency as well as Environmental Protection Agency, Maine’s system needed to change to manual controls.

Also, a March hacker in Nevada reached SCADA devices. These provided operational visibility, but couldn’t issue commands.

CISA reported that there were increasing attacks against critical infrastructure forms, similar to those at water plants.

Sometimes, low technology spending by municipalities can cause water infrastructures to be handicapped.

Recommendations from the Department of Homeland Security include strict access log audits, and strict use of other authentication factors beyond passwords.

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Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.