News | February 12, 2014

AWWA Guidance Helps Water Utilities Guard Against Cyber Attacks

With cyber-attacks a growing threat to critical infrastructure systems, the American Water Works Association recently announced the release of expert guidance on how water utilities can reduce their cyber vulnerabilities.

This guidance was prepared to provide water utility managers with a concise set of best practices and standards. It puts forth a transparent and repeatable process for evaluating a utilitys process control system. In order to provide the widest benefit, the guidance and tool are free and publicly available.

Our water systems are essential to the health and safety of our communities and citizens, said AWWA Executive Director David LaFrance. AWWAs new cybersecurity guidance and tool can help the nations water utilities mitigate potential risks introduced by todays advanced technologies.

Cybersecurity is the top threat facing business and critical infrastructure in the United States, according to reports and testimony from the National Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security. On Feb. 12, 2013, President Obama issued Executive Order 13636 - Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, which directed the National Institute of Standards and Technology to work with stakeholders to develop a voluntary framework for reducing cyber risks. AWWAs new guidance,Process Control System Security Guidance for the Water Sector, is a product of that effort.

Supporting the guidance is the Cybersecurity Use-Case Tool, which offers an efficient approach to evaluating the security of cyber systems and networks of water utilities. Both the tool and guidance were prepared with leadership from AWWAs Water Utility Council.

Additional background and a demonstration of the use-case tool will be the focus of a webinar,An Action Plan for Process Control System Security, on Feb. 26, 2014.

Abou tAmerican Water Works Association
Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the worlds most important resource. With approximately 50,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life.

SOURCE: American Water Works Association