The Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) is investigating a cyberattack that last week hit the agency. The agency quickly activated the incident response procedure after the attack.
The attack was disclosed on March 19, and threat actors had access to customer and employee information. The agency is going to notify impacted customers and employees via breach notification letters.
The agency pointed out that operations at the critical infrastructure managed by the agency in Puerto Rico were not impacted.
“It should be noted that once the incident was detected and from the first moment we have been working with the relevant authorities, the FBI and CISA [Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency], specifically,” said Nannette Martínez, executive director of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority’s (PRASA) office of innovation and technology.
At this time, the agency has yet to reveal the name of the group behind the attack, but the Vice Society ransomware gang added the authority to the list of victims on its Tor leak site. The ransomware gang leaked the passports, driver’s licenses and other documents of the impacted individuals.
Executive president Doriel Pagán only said that the attack was perpetrated by a “criminal organization [that] has already been identified at the national level.”
“Because this is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment further. However, we assure all our clients that the services offered by the Authority are still valid and we continue working to provide a quality and efficient service,” Pagán said.
The agency recommends customers to change their passwords.
In early March, the Biden administration announced that it will make it mandatory for the states to conduct cybersecurity audits of public water systems.
Water systems are critical infrastructures that are increasingly exposed to the risk of cyberattacks by both cybercriminal organizations and nation-state actors, the US Environmental Protection Agency reported.
“Cyberattacks against critical infrastructure facilities, including drinking water systems, are increasing, and public water systems are vulnerable,” said EPA Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox, as reported by the Associated Press. “Cyberattacks have the potential to contaminate drinking water.”
According to government officials, recent audits show that the lack of proper defense, mainly on the operational technology deployed in water systems. In many cases, they lack cybersecurity practices and rely on voluntary measures with poor progress.
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