Biden-Harris admin engages states on cyber threats

On March 19, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan sent a letter to all U.S. governors inviting state environmental, health and homeland security secretaries to a convening by their deputies to discuss the urgent need for cyber protection in the water sector.

The virtual meeting, scheduled for March 21, aims to highlight current federal and state efforts to promote cybersecurity practices in the water sector, discuss priority gaps in these efforts, and emphasize the need for states and water systems to take immediate action.

“We’ve worked across government to implement significant cybersecurity standards in our nation’s critical infrastructure, including in the water sector, as we remain vigilant to the risks and costs of cyber threats,” said National Security Advisory Jake Sullivan. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the EPA to bolster the cybersecurity of America’s water and wastewater systems.”

“Drinking water and wastewater systems are a lifeline for communities, but many systems have not adopted important cybersecurity practices to thwart potential cyberattacks,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA and NSC take these threats very seriously and will continue to partner with state environmental, health, and homeland security leaders to address the pervasive and challenging risk of cyberattacks on water systems.”

The National Security Council (NSC) and EPA are encouraging all states to join this dialogue to drive rapid improvements to water cybersecurity and reinforce collaboration between state and federal entities and water systems.

Additionally, EPA will strive to collaborate with the Water Sector and Water Government Coordinating Councils in forming a Water Sector Cybersecurity Task Force to identify near-term actions and strategies to reduce the risk of water systems nationwide to cyberattacks. In addition to considering the prevalent vulnerabilities of water systems to cyberattacks and the challenges experienced by some systems in adopting best practices, this Task Force in its deliberations would seek to build upon existing collaborative products, such as the 2023 Roadmap to a Secure and Resilient Water and Wastewater Sector and recommendations stemming from the meeting with Environmental, Health and Homeland Security Secretaries.

EPA said these collaborative efforts will result in advances that will better protect the nation’s critical water infrastructure from cyberattacks. For information about EPA’s cybersecurity program, or details about the March 21 meeting, please visit EPA’s Cybersecurity for the Water Sector website.

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