The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday asked the FBI and Environmental Protection Agency for an update on their probe of an attempt by hackers to contaminate a Florida town’s water supply.
The hackers tried unsuccessfully to increase the level of sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, in the water to dangerous levels. The lye is used to control water acidity levels and remove metals. In other settings, it is used as a liquid drain cleaner.
Following the incident, the FBI and other state and federal agencies opened an investigation.
“While the Oldsmar water treatment facility incident was detected with sufficient time to mitigate serious risks to the citizens of Oldsmar, and appears to have been identified as the result of a diligent employee monitoring this facility’s operations, future compromises of this nature may not be detected in time,” Warner wrote to the agencies.
He also asked the FBI to update him on its investigation, and the EPA provide answers on whether the Oldsmar water treatment facility was up to date with federal security plans for the water and wastewater sector, and whether the federal government is sharing security intelligence with critical infrastructure providers so they can defend themselves.
“The Federal Government must ensure we are taking all precautions to keep drinking water safe for Americans,” he wrote.
The FBI, EPA, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center put out an alert addressing the incident, warning critical infrastructure operators against using desktop sharing software that may create more cyber vulnerabilities.
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