IN WAKE OF RECENT BOWMAN AVENUE DAM HACK DISCLOSURE, SCHUMER VISITS RYE BROOK TO CALL FOR THOROUGH INVESTIGATION BY DHS OF AMERICA’S CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE; RECENT REVELATION ABOUT WESTCHESTER DAM IRANIAN HACK ATTACK POINTS TO POTENTIAL VULNERABILITIES OF OUR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE TO CYBERATTACK
Schumer Launches 2-Pronged Effort To Ensure Critical Infrastructure, Like Dams, Power Grids, Telecommunications Systems And More Are Safe From Hackers
Schumer Pushes Feds To Further Investigate Hacks And Work Hand-In-Hand With State & Local Governments To Prevent Future Cyber Attacks
Schumer: Our Number One Priority Should Be Protecting Our Critical Infrastructure From Evil-Doers
Standing at the Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye Brook, NY, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called for an immediate and more thorough investigation of America’s critical infrastructure by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Schumer said the Iranian cyberattack at the Westchester dam points to potential vulnerabilities to cyber-attack of our critical infrastructure including dams, sensitive industrial systems and power grids.
“Simply put, our country’s critical infrastructure still far too vulnerable to hackers and we must do more -- and fast -- to ward off this metastasizing threat,” said Schumer. “Iran’s recently disclosed 2013 hack right here in New York on this dam shows that cities and sensitive industrial systems across New York and the nation are too vulnerable. Whether it’s a dam in Rye Brook, or our power grids, our financial institutions, our water systems, or our online networks, these parts of our infrastructure are at risk are under assault like never before, and we need to do more about it. That is why I am urging DHS to fully investigate the Rye Brook hack and all the others like it that target our critical infrastructure. We must know where we are vulnerable and ramp up our security efforts. When it comes to fighting off the scourge of cyberattacks, we also must work arm-in-arm with state and local governments to prevent future hacks.”
In light of the recently disclosed news that Iranian hackers probed the control system of the Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye Brook – located just outside New York City – Schumer urged a two-prong plan to ensure critical U.S. infrastructure systems are protected from future cyber-attacks. This push comes on the heels of recent reports that detailed the 2013 incident, which was previously undisclosed, and indicated the system was infiltrated amid attacks launched by Iranian hackers against the websites of several American banks. Schumer said this newly released information suggests that the U.S. needs to dedicate more federal resources toward ensuring its public infrastructure, including the systems that control dams, are secure.
Schumer said it is disconcerting to know that systems controlling the flow of pipelines, the movements of drawbridges and water releases from dams could be breached – and relatively easily – by perpetrators. According to the Wall Street Journal, in tragic scenario, a hacker could theoretically cause a flood, traffic jam or even explosion by being able to gain control of critical infrastructure systems like this. According to the Journal’s December 20 report, these critical systems are often connected directly to office computer networks, and are therefore easily breached. Because the U.S. has more than 57,000 industrial-control systems connected to the Internet, Schumer said it is critical this country do more to guard against cyberattacks that could impact our society down to contaminating a water supply, like that of the Bowman Avenue Dam.
Therefore, in light of the news of this hack, Schumer is urging DHS to first conduct a thorough and immediate investigation to determine how this breach happened, as well as ways to protect against cyberattacks in the future. Schumer said the federal government must determine where these vulnerabilities exist in order to better safeguard critical infrastructure that is presently susceptible to cyberattacks. Second, Schumer is urging the federal government to work hand-in-hand with state and local governments and municipalities, as well as companies that operate public works and utility systems in order to better prevent future hacks. According to a New York Times October 2015 report, over the last four years, foreign hackers have stolen source code and blueprints to the oil and water pipelines and power grid of the U.S. In addition, hackers have infiltrated the Department of Energy’s networks approximately 150 times. Schumer said it is high time to fund and put in place systems that will better safeguard New York State’s critical infrastructure.