Critical Infrastructure in Beaver County Pennsylvania Targeted by Hackers
Aliquippa, PA – A group claiming affiliation with the Iranian government compromised Aliquippa’s municipal water system, revealing vulnerabilities in critical U.S. infrastructure. The group, known as Cyber Av3ngers, specifically targeted hardware made by Israeli-owned companies, shutting down a key pump in the water supply system.
This incident, exclusively reported by BeaverCountain.com, marks a significant escalation in the group’s activities, which have included attacks on 10 Israeli water plants in the past month. The Cyber Av3ngers have been active on social media, espousing support for Palestinians and declaring war against Israel and its supporters.
The attack rendered a pump inoperative, cutting off water supply from the Aliquippa Municipal Water Authority to Raccoon and Potter townships. A message displayed on the system’s control panel stated, “You have been hacked. Down with Israel. Every equipment ‘made in Israel’ is Cyber Av3ngers legal target.”
Matthew Mottes, chairman of the water authority, confirmed that the hackers did not gain access to the main water treatment plant or other critical systems. The compromised pump was isolated on a separate network and located miles away from the main facility. He emphasized that water quality was not affected due to manual treatment processes in place at the antiquated plant.
The attack, however, raised alarms about the security of critical infrastructure, particularly in systems using foreign-manufactured hardware. Ned Mitrovich, the facility’s engineer, is conducting a thorough review to identify and secure any similar vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, Robert Bible, the general manager, is coordinating with law enforcement agencies.
The FBI, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and Pennsylvania State Police have been notified. State police have increased their presence at the water treatment plant as a precaution.
This incident underscores the need for robust cybersecurity measures in public utilities and the ongoing threat of cyber warfare targeting critical infrastructure. As Aliquippa moves forward with plans for a new water treatment facility, the lessons from this attack will undoubtedly influence its design and security protocols.
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