Digital technologies are transforming critical infrastructure, and the water sector is no exception. However, the adoption of smart technologies in water utilities has opened avenues for cyber threats. The potential consequences include unauthorized access to control systems, manipulation of water quality, and even physical damage to critical infrastructure. This can lead to water contamination or large-scale service disruptions and financial damages.

IoT devices are actively being exploited in critical infrastructure

ARS Technica recently highlighted the pressing need for enhancing cyber resilience in operational technology (OT) systems. The article recounts how hackers breached two water utilities, North Texas Municipal Water District and Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa, by exploiting industrial control systems (ICS) and compromising programmable logic controllers (PLCs). These security breaches significantly disrupted business and operational processes, emphasizing the critical importance of robust cybersecurity measures to protect essential services and critical infrastructure.

According to The Ponemon Institution, physical security compromises serve as the initial attack vector for 8%-10% of cyber breaches, with an average cost of $4.1-$4.4M. These statistics underscore the imperative for organizations to prioritize and enhance their physical security measures to mitigate the risk and financial implications of cyber breaches.

Convergint capabilities consistent with CISA recommendations

As cyber threats evolve, the water treatment industry must adopt a defense-in-depth approach to cybersecurity and modernize its systems to defend against cyberattacks. Convergint’s team of experts leverages device hardening to mitigate risks associated with water utilities infrastructure, and aligns with the following 4 CISA recommendations:

  • Strengthen password security
  • Eliminate the use of default passwords
  • Reduce vulnerabilities by minimizing the attack surface
  • Stay current with software and firmware updates

Convergint can help

Convergint is a global systems integrator focused on delivering results for customers through unparalleled service excellence. Convergint offers last-mile delivery for emerging technology, backed by a 20+ year commitment to its core value of service. Contact Convergint’s dedicated team of cybersecurity and utility specialists today to assist your organization with implementing and automating these measures at scale.