Shoring Up Water Security: Industry Leaders Testify Before Congress
The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection recently brought together industry leaders and stakeholders to discuss the urgent need for protective measures, baseline cybersecurity standards and collaboration initiatives to fortify the nation’s critical water systems. Here’s what you need to know.
Recent trends highlight a disturbing reality: cyberattacks targeting U.S. water infrastructure are escalating at an alarming rate. As our reliance on digital systems grows, so does the susceptibility of the foundational infrastructure that sustains our daily lives. On February 6, Marty Edwards, Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Operational Technology (OT) and Internet of Things (IoT) for Tenable, appeared as a witness before the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection. The hearing, titled “Securing Operational Technology: A Deep Dive into the Water Sector,” brought together key industry stakeholders to address the increased cyber threats targeting the water sector and to deliberate on the steps Congress should undertake to fortify the nation’s water and wastewater systems.
Edwards shared valuable insights during the hearing, emphasizing the operational challenges and potential solutions from an OT perspective. His testimony underscored the critical need for a proactive approach, baseline cybersecurity standards, and the importance of addressing IT and OT challenges simultaneously.
He also shed light on the importance of initiatives like the U.S. Cybersecurity Infrastructure Agency’s (CISA) Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC) in fostering collaboration and information sharing. “From Tenable's perspective, there's no doubt that the JCDC provides significant value, particularly when CISA focuses on the operational aspects of information sharing related to current or emerging threats,” highlighted Edwards.
Edwards emphasized the persistent struggle with decades-old OT across critical infrastructure. He recommended incorporating cybersecurity requirements in all federal infrastructure grant projects. “We need to make sure that we’re defining the cybersecurity objectives in the project and then measuring them with metrics and key performance indicators,” Edwards stated.
The critical need to fortify OT security, especially within the water sector, was the top priority in the room. As we navigate an ever-evolving threat landscape, Edwards and fellow witnesses have laid the groundwork for a collaborative, proactive approach—a collective call to action to safeguard our critical infrastructure against emerging threats.
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