Ransomware hackers targeted three US water facilities in 2021, cyber officials say

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Hackers targeted three US water treatment facilities with ransomware over the past eight months, Cyber ​​Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (LEED) officials said in a bulletin released Thursday.

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Lead said that the analysis, conducted in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Security Agency, resulted in the issue of an alert titled “ongoing cyber threats to US Water and Wastewater Systems”, aimed at “ongoing cyber threats to US water and wastewater systems”. to highlight”. Malicious cyber activity – by both known and unknown actors – targeting information technology … and operational technology … networks, systems, and equipment of US Water and Wastewater Systems (WWS) sector facilities”.

“This activity – which includes attempts to compromise system integrity through unauthorized access – threatens the ability of WWS facilities to provide clean, potable water and effectively manage their communities’ wastewater,” lead he said.

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The bulletin noted that malicious actors are using “spearphishing”—a technique that involves using forged email to trick facility personnel into clicking on malicious links or executing malicious code, giving hackers access to protected systems. Providing access, as well as exploiting vulnerabilities in older computer operating systems. Systems that have not been patched with up-to-date security fixes.

The most recent ransomware attack in the report was reported in August 2021, and targeted a California-based water treatment facility, and was detected when three servers began displaying ransomware messages.

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A month ago, cyber actors targeted a Maine water treatment facility with ransomware, forcing the facility to manually run equipment until its servers could be restored.

And in March 2021, hackers targeted a Nevada water facility’s servers, but were not able to gain control of any treatment equipment because the facility was not fully automated.

The lead alert comes just days after the Biden administration called a multi-day meeting with 30 countries to launch a “counter-ransomware initiative”.

In remarks to the initiative’s inaugural session, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that President Joe Biden has prioritized fighting ransomware with a number of administrative initiatives, including a Justice Department task force that will fight ransomware gangs. and the Administration’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber ​​Security Initiative”, which Mr. Sullivan said has helped improve security at utilities serving more than 90 million residential customers across the US.

“US government agencies are making a concerted effort to disrupt the ransomware ecosystem,” Mr. Sullivan said. “We recognize the urgency of the ransomware threat, the need to protect our citizens and businesses from it, and the importance of international cooperation to combat it”.

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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