It is being reported that U.S. officials are investigating an attack by hackers “linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), also known as the “Cyber Av3ngers,” that allowed them to gain control of a device at the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa, PA. The water authority has stated that once the intrusion was detected, the water facility switched to manual operations and there was no threat to the water system or availability of water to residents.
The hackers reportedly obtained access to “a pump that regulates pressure to elevated areas of our system” in a remote water station for two townships in Pennsylvania servicing around 7,000 residents. Although the hacking group is known to make exaggerated and fake claims about its capabilities, the attack emphasizes how critical infrastructure is targeted by foreign adversaries and the difficulty of protecting critical infrastructure from attacks.
Water utilities and boards are eligible for free vulnerability scanning from CISA, which they would do well to implement sooner rather than later if they have not done so already.