Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is asking the FBI and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide more information on the recent attempt by cyber criminals to poison the water supply at an Oldsmar, Fla. water treatment facility.

The attack in question occurred on Feb. 5, when hackers attempted to increase the amount of sodium hydroxide – commonly known as lye – to lethal levels. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued guidance on Feb. 11, which said the hackers likely took advantage of an outdated Windows 7 operating system to gain access.

“This incident has implications beyond the 15,000-person town of Oldsmar,” Sen. Warner wrote in a Feb. 17 letter to the heads of the two agencies. “While the Oldsmar water treatment facility incident was detected with sufficient time to mitigate serious risks to the citizens of Oldsmar, and appears to have been identified as the result of a diligent employee monitoring this facility’s operations, future compromises of this nature may not be detected in time.”

Sen. Warner requested that the FBI inform him on the progress of its investigation of the hack and for the EPA to review whether the facility was “compliant with the most recent Water and Wastewater Sector-Specific Plan,” and whether that plan needs updating to prevent future attacks like this one.

Lastly, Warner asked the agencies to confirm that the Federal government is “sharing timely threat information related to this incident with water and wastewater facilities, and other critical infrastructure providers across the United States.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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