Williamsport water/sewer urged to audit cybersecurity | News, Sports, Jobs

WILLIAMSPORT — With tensions escalating around the world, utilities in small communities are being urged by federal agencies to check for possible vulnerabilities to cyberattacks.

The Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority has received guidance from government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency as well as Homeland Security, advising the authority to review its cybersecurity for any vulnerabilities. to an attack.

Over the past two weeks, according to Christine Weigle, Executive Director, the authority has been “flooded with information, directives and documents.”

“We are still monitoring directives and guidance documents to ensure that we continue to protect ourselves during this very uncertain and very scary time, because cybersecurity is a very serious event,” she pointed out.

“Our industry is on high alert. It’s been non-stop with information being thrown at us right now. Homeland Security and the EPA have been core to our industry – water, wastewater – for some time because there are significant vulnerabilities, especially in smaller systems,” Weigle said.

Typically, infrastructure refers to water and sewer lines, Weigle noted, but in this case infrastructure means the internet and cybersecurity, such as modems and routers.

“Programs and systems that you put in place so that we can keep people out,” she added.

Weigle made the comments after the monthly LCWS board meeting.

During the meeting, she told board members that their proactive approach to cybersecurity, including it as part of their strategic planning, had given them a head start on certain systems.

“We have been smart in our efforts during the strategic planning process to add cybersecurity to our program goals and objectives for this year. We are operational with a number of elements that we have identified during this strategic planning process,” Weigle said.

The local authority has no open networks and uses static IP addresses. It continues to monitor its systems and continues to develop a program that would be put in place for training, Weigle said.

Open networks are dangerous because hackers can enter and access information, disrupt operations, or demand money, similar to a ransomware attack.

“Multi-factor authentication is going to happen quickly, we’re going to have to implement it. We were talking about it at the end of last year and it will have to be done now, for sure. Real

time monitoring is in place for all of our computers. We have modernized some equipment. It’s really an issue that we’ve spent a lot of time on over the past couple of weeks,” she said.

The authority put in layers of protection that put them “ahead of the curve”, she says.

“There is a lot of work that we have already done. Systems and equipment we’ve had in place for years that many other water and sewer providers haven’t even thought of.

I think we’re in a good place, but that doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels,” Weigle said.

“There are nefarious people out there and they’re trying to get data and they’re trying to get money and they’re trying to wreak havoc in the United States,” Weigle said.

In other actions at the meeting, the board approved the following:

— A capital project requisition in the amount of $2,710 for the Montoursville outfall project.

— The appointment of Weigle as agent for the purchase of a 2022 Ranger 4×4 SuperCrew, from Sunbury Motors Ford with a delay of eight weeks to eight months. The board approved the purchase last month.

— A resolution concerning the destruction of archives in accordance with the Municipal Archives Manual.

— A resolution authorizing the appropriation of properties in the township of Limestone at Pinewoods and Perry Nigart roads for the purposes of future administrative needs.

The next meeting of the Board of Directors will be held at 6:00 p.m., April 6 at 380 Old Cement Road, Montoursville.

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