Feb 25, 2021

Cyber Security for Water & Wastewater Plants | WWD Weekly Digest

Cyber Security for Water & Wastewater Plants | WWD Weekly Digest

In early February, news about an apparent hack at the Oldsmar Water Treatment Plant was shared widely throughout the industry. An individual accessed the controls of the plant and increased the dosage of sodium hydroxide to dangerous levels, but was reverted by an attentive operator. It sparked conversations about the incident from security parameters, to remote SCADA access security measures, and even properly setting up systems to ensure tampering could only go so far.

Gary Wong, principal of global water industry for OSIsoft, discusses the incident at the plant, and how issues like this could be averted in the future. He explains how restricting access for controls ensures higher accountability of the operators with access while also ensuring fewer vulnerabilities for the system. Additionally, separating the controls from the data, allows for data to be visible over the Internet without exposing the controls to potential malicious attacks. Lastly, Wong discusses the changing and evolving duties of operators and how they play a critical role in defending against security breaches.

Register for Digital Pathways to Resilience, a webinar series in partnership with Global Water Works, in which Wong and other panelists will provide guidance on risk assessment and management, system security, and more: https://www.workcast.com/register?cpak=1750146988875090&REFERRER=GWW

  • Intro: (0:00)
  • What to consider when determining security measures and protocols: (1:15)
  • Do too many people have access to the system controls?: (1:59)
  • Access levels should be standardized: (2:36)
  • Establishing security protocols and training workers: (5:23)
  • The importance of operators in the smart system equation: (6:56)
  • Creating set points and a calibration schedule: (9:30)
  • The criticality of alarms and how to set effective ones: (10:00)
  • Effective alarms give operators freedom and peace of mind: (12:17)
  • The changing and evolving roles of water and wastewater operators: (13:56)
  • Outro: (16:10)

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