When hackers went after the Onslow Water and Sewer Authority last month, it was the second cyberattack on a North Carolina utility within a year. The hackers, who timed this attack for the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, caused “a catastrophic loss” by encrypting databases and locking out employees. Rather than pay a ransom to the hackers, the utility is rebuilding its information technology systems from scratch.
We need water for everything from cooking to manufacturing. Technological advances that make our water supply smarter — automating chemical treatment, for example, or enabling electronic billing — also make it more vulnerable to cyberattacks.