Is Your Water Protected from Ransomware?

Imagine a day without water 2019Millions of Americans take water service for granted every day. Turn on the tap, and clean water flows out. The average American uses 176 gallons of water per day.  40% of water in America is used to produce the food we eat and the beverages we drink. 17% goes toward showering, 27% is used by the toilet, and your clothes washer another 22%.


On October 23rd, the American Water Works Association asks everyone to consider what their day would be like if they couldn’t turn on the tap and get clean drinking water, or if they flushed the toilet and wastewater didn’t go anywhere. What would that day be like? A day without water is a public health and safety crisis.


Ransomware example screenshotA ransomware attack is a type of cybercrime that causes the control systems responsible for treating water/wastewater to come to a grinding halt.  It is malware that infects operator workstations and servers, encrypts the hard drive, spreads throughout the system and prevents the user from performing necessary functions.  The criminal hackers then demand a ransom to make the computers operational again.


Cybercrime against local governments has increased dramatically in the last year. More than 80 state and local governments have been hit with cyber-attacks. In August, a coordinated attack against 23 cities in Texas put the state’s emergency management agency on its highest level of alert. A water and sewer authority in North Carolina had all their computers wiped of data. One water district in Colorado called in the FBI to investigate its ransomware infection. The list is lengthy. The Department of Homeland Security issued an alert in 2018 stating that foreign governments had targeted US water systems.


No Water, No FlowThe America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 requires water utilities serving more than 3,300 people conduct  a risk and resilience assessment which is to include cyber defense.  Are your water and wastewater services prepared?


At aeSolutions, we have the critical infrastructure experience, cyber assessment processes and implementation expertise to help mitigate this risk and keep the water turned on.


For more information, visit us at

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