Delano Boil Water Order Due to Water Plant Hack

This morning’s ‘boil water’ order from the Delano Water Maintenance Department was issued because of a cyberattack on the chlorination system at the City’s Water Treatment Facility on the north side of town according to George Funderburke, the Director of the DWMD. “A visual check of the scales on the active chlorine tank this morning showed no change in weight since yesterday morning,” Funderburke told reporters; “This indicates that no chlorine had been added to the city’s water in the last 24 hours.” Funderburke confirmed that the control system used at the facility showed normal operation of the chlorination system and instrumentation at multiple places within the plant showed chlorine levels in the system were within expected values. A written statement from the DWMD said: “When the tank weighment discrepancy was reported, we immediately did manual water sampling and testing for chlorine and found no chlorine in the water being sent into the city pipes. We immediately began manual operation of the chlorination system with manual testing while the investigation into the incident is underway. We are also making hourly physical weighment checks on the active chlorine tank until the issue is resolved.” Mayor Arrington Carter told reporters that both the Federal Bureau of Inquiry (FBI) and the Environmental Process Protection Agency (EPPA) had teams enroute to the City to investigate the incident. “We do have a team from the CI-SOC on site collecting forensic evidence from the facility control system,” she told reporters: “After last fall’s ransomware attack, we have built a close relationship with General Turgidson’s people and they responded very quickly.” The Critical Infrastructure Security Operations Center (CI-SOC) has not yet responded to questions about the incident beyond saying that they have a team currently working on site. Jay Muir, spokesperson for the EPPA, addressing the press conference by video, told reporters: “We take cybersecurity very seriously at the EPPA. After the Oldsmar attack last week, we have begun an internal review of our cybersecurity guidance to water treatment facilities and wastewater treatment facilities. I can tell you that the DWMD did file their risk assessment certification last fall, well ahead of schedule.” When asked if the EPPA had reviewed the facility’s cybersecurity plan, Muir replied: “Facilities are not required to send a cybersecurity plan to the agency for review. They are only required to certify that they have conducted a facility risk assessment. That assessment does include a review of the cyber risk at the facility.” Johnathan Quest, spokesperson for the FBI, also participating by video, told reporters that it was too early in the investigation to determine if there were any connection with the Oldsmar attack. He did say that the FBI had not yet ruled out terrorism as motive for the attack, “We have no idea who may be responsible, but we are assuming that it was a deliberate attack on the system. We do not know the motivation at this time.” Funderburke reminded people to boil any water used for personal consumption or hygiene for at least one-minute before use. He also reported that chlorine levels in the water from the plant would be higher than normal for up to a week while the City purged the unchlorinated water from city lines. Some people might notice an unusual chlorine odor or taste to the water for a short period of time after that. “Chlorine levels will be well within safe limits, just higher than normal,” he clarified. CAUTIONARY NOTE: This is a future news story –Future ICS Security NewsRead More