Cybersecurity Initiative Expanded To Include Water Sector

Voluntary Participation Encouraged

11 Feb 2022 by The Water Diplomat
WASHINGTON DC, United States

The Biden administration announced plans to increase the cybersecurity of the water sector through a public private partnership.

This measure, known as the Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Initiative (ICSCI), was established last year and applied initially to the natural gas and electricity sector but was extended to the water sector on the 27th of January.  

In 2021, the United States witnessed an increasing number of cyber-attacks including on an oil pipeline and on the meat packing industry. In response, the administration moved beyond efforts to protect government institutions against cyber-attacks, launching ICSCI as a voluntary partnership with private sector institutions.

The Water and Wastewater Sector Action Plan is to be unrolled over a period of 100 days and include the deployment of technologies and systems that will enable monitoring of and real time information on cybersecurity threats.

Utilities will be invited to take part in a pilot programme for Industrial Control Systems monitoring and information sharing.

The water sector in the United States is complex and multifaceted and includes more than 50,000 water utilities ranging widely in the size of the service area and the number of clients that they serve.  Many of these institutions do not have cybersecurity measures in place, and therefore the partnership is open to all institutions that may want to increase the protection of their infrastructure.

The measure will initially focus on the utilities that serve the largest populations or whose systems have a large impact, laying the ground for further expansion of protection in the water sector.            

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