AWWA guidance helps water utilities guard against cyber attacks


DENVER -- With cyber-attacks a growing threat to critical infrastructure systems, the American Water Works Association  announced on Wed. 12th of February 2014,  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 utility’s 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. “AWWA’s new cybersecurity guidance and tool can help the nation’s water utilities mitigate potential risks introduced by today’s 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. AWWA’s 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 AWWA’s 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.

Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s 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.

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