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Three Pennsylvania congressional members, including Democratic Senators John Fetterman, Bob Casey, and Representative Chris Deluzio (D), have urged the Department of Justice to probe a cyberattack on a Pittsburgh-area water authority.

Pipe Water Flow

The attack, which took place on November 24, targeted the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa, apparently because of its use of equipment made in Israel. The hackers left a message stating, “Every equipment ‘made in Israel’ is Cyber Av3ngers legal target.” This hacking group, believed to be aligned with Iran’s government according to Check Point Research and Google’s Mandiant, has claimed responsibility for similar attacks on Israeli infrastructure.

In their letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the lawmakers emphasized the gravity of such attacks on critical infrastructure, stressing that they pose a threat anywhere in the US. Speaking to CBS News in Pittsburgh, Deluzio highlighted the severity of the situation, saying, “A municipal water authority in Aliquippa is the target here, and that controls something we all rely on: access to water. So that’s where the vulnerabilities are. We’ve got to shore up defenses and help local government, help private vendors where they’re involved, lift up their cybersecurity.”

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This comes as the Aliquippa water authority, which controls water access, was forced to cease pumping and switch to manual operation following the hack. In a statement, the Aliquippa water authority added that “We’ve been told that we are not the only authority that’s been affected in the country, but we are believed to be the first.”

Digging Deeper:
The incident coincided with a federal appeals court decision leading the Environmental Protection Agency to retract a rule mandating cybersecurity testing in regular audits of US public water systems.


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