Water sector joins cyber security chief to release national strategy

Sept. 19, 2002
The water sector's coordinator for water security joined the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, led by White House Special Advisor for Cyber Security Richard Clarke and other sector leaders on Sept. 18 to release the draft National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace (www.securecyberspace.gov).

San Francisco, Sept. 19, 2002 -- The water sector's coordinator for water security joined the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, led by White House Special Advisor for Cyber Security Richard Clarke and other sector leaders Sept. 18 to release the draft National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace (www.securecyberspace.gov).

"The water sector's concerns about cyber security center on the sector's use of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems," said Diane VanDe Hei, the water sector's security coordinator and the executive director of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) (www.amwa.net).

"SCADA allows us to monitor and control processes that are distributed among various remote sites. However, SCADA systems may also be susceptible to cyber terrorism."

"When the National Strategy is finalized later this year, it should show us a path to improving cyber security for SCADA systems and other information systems used in the water sector," added VanDe Hei.

Among the National Strategy's goals is greater information sharing within and among the sectors. To provide a mechanism for utilities to receive and share information on security incidents, AMWA, under a U.S. EPA grant, began developing the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center (WaterISAC) last year.

AMWA has asked Congress for $2 million through U.S. EPA's budget to help fund the continued development and first year of operation of the WaterISAC. Likewise, the water sector is already working to satisfy another goal of the National Strategy. AMWA and other water associations have asked Congress for $15 million in research and development funds through EPA's budget to study the vulnerabilities to terrorism faced by water systems.

"Cyber security is going to be an increasing concern for all sectors," added VanDe Hei. "The water sector believes investments in information sharing and research, as outlined in the National Strategy, are the minimum requirements needed to beat the hackers and stay secure."

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