Monday, May 27, 2024

Iran may attack US water supplies, warns Biden administration

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It comes after figures associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Iranian state security body, were identified by Washington as carrying out cyber attacks against critical US infrastructure entities, including drinking water systems.

The IRGC-linked hackers were able to target and disable a common type of operational technology used at water facilities where the facility had neglected to change a default manufacturer password, according to the Biden administration.

In late November, Iranian-backed hackers attacked Israeli-made digital controls commonly used in the water and waste water industries in the US, affecting several states, according to Bloomberg, although it did not affect water supplies.

‘Potential to disrupt critical lifeline’

Meanwhile, Volt Typhoon, a Chinese state-sponsored group, has also previously compromised drinking water and other critical infrastructure systems, the Biden administration letter warned.

It stated: “These attacks have the potential to disrupt the critical lifeline of clean and safe drinking water, as well as impose significant costs on affected communities.”

The US government had assessed with a high degree of confidence that Volt Typhoon is “pre-positioning” to “disrupt critical infrastructure operations” in the event of rising tensions or military conflicts, the letter said.

The water system is an especially vulnerable part of US infrastructure, fraught with weak controls, insufficient funding and staffing shortages.

 

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