Defending our Water Infrastructure: Creating a Cybersecurity Culture in Small Community Water and Wastewater Systems

January 24, 2023 12:00 pm — 1:30 pm
Webinar Only

An ELI, LGEAN, and WaterISAC Public Webinar

This webinar convenes the three major federal agencies that play a role in addressing cybersecurity in the water and wastewater sector. Panelists from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will discuss cybersecurity threats to the sector, provide advice on how to prevent and respond to cyberattacks, and share tips and resources for small community water systems to create a robust cybersecurity culture.

Cyberattacks on our public drinking water systems are occurring with greater frequency. Recent examples include a hacker altering chemical levels at a Florida water system in 2021, as well as the SolarWinds network breach in 2020, which gave cybercriminals access to 73 water systems. In 2021, EPA estimated water and wastewater utilities to be at risk of at least one cyberattack per year on both Business Enterprise and Process Control Systems. Malevolent actors encompass terrorists, hackers, and even disgruntled former employees who put the public health at risk from loss of service and unsafe drinking water.

The America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA) recognizes these and similar risks by requiring every water system serving more than 3,300 people to prepare and regularly update a Risk and Resilience Assessment (RRA) and Emergency Response Plan (ERP). But 1,000, or over 11%, of small water systems serving 7.2 million people, still failed to certify their ERPs by mid-2021, six months after the deadline. Small community water systems in particular face great challenges in preparing and implementing cybersecurity strategies due to limited resources, technical knowledge, and funding.

Cynthia R. Harris, Deputy Director, Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator
Brandon M. Carter, Sr. Cybersecurity Specialist, Water Infrastructure and Cyber Resilience Division (WICRD), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Benjamin Gilbert, Cybersecurity Advisor, CISA Region 3, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
Vijal Pancholi, Cybersecurity Specialist, Water Infrastructure and Cyber Resilience Division (WICRD), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Aaron Steps, Supervisory Special Agent, Cyber Division, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation

Materials will be posted as they are received.
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