Unmasking the Threat: The Shadowy Forces Assaulting American Infrastructure

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In January of last year, a hacker team associated with the Russian Government hacked the water system in a small Texas town. Two more small Texas towns have reported similar attempts to breach their water systems.

The attack caused the water tanks in Muleshoe and Texas to overflow. All three cyber attacks are being investigated by the FBI as part of an effort by the Russian government to target American infrastructure.

On Wednesday, the 911 emergency service was down in South Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, and Texas. The Department of Homeland Security warned of an increased risk of cyber attacks against 911 systems due to the move from analog systems based on the IP address to digital systems.

The Biden administration warned in March that cyber attacks are hitting water and wastewater plants throughout the U.S.

Sullivan stated at the time, “even basic cybersecurity measures” were not used by water facilities. This “can mean the difference between business as usual and a disrupting cyberattack.”

Sullivan claims that cyber attacks have hit water plants “all over the United States”, and states need to improve their cyber security. Mandiant is a private cybersecurity company that works with the government. They have publicly linked the Texas tank attacks to Russian security agencies.

CNN:

When the Texas hacking incidents occurred, there was little attention given to them as it remained unclear who was responsible. On Wednesday, Mandiant linked the Telegram channel, a popular social media platform, in which hackers claimed responsibility for Muleshoe with previous hacking activities carried out by the notorious Russian GRU military intelligence agency.

Mandiant analysts were unsure whether the GRU or other Russian-speaking hacker groups using the same persona claimed responsibility for the hack.

The incidents in question did not impact the drinking water of towns. If it is confirmed that GRU or its proxy was involved, then this would be an increase in the targeting of US critical infrastructure by a Russian group known for focusing on Ukraine.

Water utilities are being exploited by adversaries who take advantage of the low-hanging fruits – vulnerable services that can be accessed directly from the Internet, said Gus Serino. He is a cybersecurity expert in water and president of I&C Secure.

Serino, a CNN reporter, said that the regulations did not require this low-hanging berry to be addressed. This shows that the basic needs are not being addressed.

The Next Generation 911 system (NG911) is causing problems with systems that aren’t prepared for an attack.

DHS:

Traditional 911 services are typically delivered over voice-based networks, and software such as computer-aided dispatching systems is usually used on internal networks that are closed with minimal interconnections. The traditional 911 network was a much smaller target for cyber attacks, as the entry points were limited. NG911 interconnections provide new response capabilities. They also represent new vectors of attack that could disrupt or disable PSAP operation, thereby increasing the concern of- and complicating- the management of- cyber risks at all levels of government.

Cyber risks are not a reason to undermine the benefits of NG911 systems. Cyber risks are a new exposure for PSAPs that they must actively manage in a comprehensive risk-management program. Cyber-attacks on 911 systems have been a common occurrence in the past.

There may not be any shooting. Russia and China, however, will find a way to attack our weakest points. It is said that our cyberwarfare abilities are amazing. If Biden does not use them to deter an enemy, then they are worthless.