February 21, 2022 | Late in January the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its federal partners announced the Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Initiative – Water and Wastewater Sector Action Plan to help protect water systems from cyberattacks. It focuses on high-impact activities that can be surged within 100 days to safeguard water resources by improving cybersecurity across the water sector.
The plan is part of President Biden’s Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Initiative, which he established pursuant to National Security Memorandum 5, Improving Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure Control Systems. The ICS Initiative is a collaborative effort between the federal government and critical infrastructure community to facilitate the deployment of technologies that provide cyber-related threat visibility, indicators, detections, and warnings.
“Cyberattacks represent an increasing threat to water systems and thereby the safety and security of our communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “As cyber-threats become more sophisticated, we need a more coordinated and modernized approach to protecting the water systems that support access to clean and safe water in America. EPA is committed to working with our federal partners and using our authorities to support the water sector in detecting, responding to, and recovering from cyber-incidents.”
The Water and Wastewater Sector Action Plan focuses on promoting and supporting the water sector’s adoption of strategies for the early detection of cyber-threats and allow for the rapid sharing of cyber-threat data across the government in order to expedite analysis and action. Actions include:
- Establishing a task force of water sector leaders.
- Implementing pilot projects to demonstrate and accelerate adoption of incident monitoring.
- Improving information sharing and data analysis.
- Providing technical support to water systems.
The Initiative’s goals are outlined in the Action Plan which was developed by the EPA, the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Water Sector Coordinating Council and Water Government Coordinating Council (WSCC/GCC).
EPA and its federal partners intend to work with water sector stakeholders to encourage, incentivize, and assist in the rapid deployment of ICS cybersecurity monitoring technologies. By implementing this Action Plan, partners across the government will lay the foundation for supporting enhanced ICS cybersecurity across water systems of all sizes – ensuring improved cyber-preparedness.
Source/Further information: www.epa.gov