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Pennsylvania Water System Hacked, Haunting Message Appears on Control Panel

Pennsylvania Water System Hacked, Haunting Message Appears on Control Panel

The Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburgh, stated Saturday that one of their booster stations was hacked by an Iranian-backed cyber group.

Matthew Mottes, chairman of the board of directors for the Municipal Water Authority, told KDKA that the group known as Cyber Av3ngers took control of a pumping station, shutting it down.

Penn Live reported that afterwards a message appeared on the system’s control panel, reading, “You have been hacked. Down with Israel. Every equipment ‘made with Israel’ is Cyber Av3ngers legal target.”

So obviously the Iranians are trying to hurt Israel’s world renowned tech export market.

The system that was hacked utilizes Unitronics, which Mottes told KDKA includes software or components that are Israeli-developed.

“The system has since been disabled,” so the hackers cannot control it, KDKA reported.

Mottes emphasized that water safety was never compromised.

“They did not get access to anything in our actual water treatment plant — or other parts of our system — other than a pump that regulates pressure to elevated areas of our system,” Mottes told the Beaver Countain. “This pump was on its own computer network, separated from our primary network, and is physically miles away.”

Mottes further explained the booster station did what it was supposed to do.

“It sent an alarm, and we took control manually. Nobody was ever at risk,” he said.

The Water Authority is currently in the midst of upgrading its water treatment plant, which dates back nearly 90 years.

Because of that, most of the processes for treating water are still done manually, Mottes said.

The Pennsylvania State Police have been called in to investigate the hack.

Democratic Congressman Chris Deluzio, whose district includes Aliquippa, posted on Facebook on Sunday: “I am closely monitoring this cyberattack on the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa.”

“My office is in touch with leadership, which reports that there has been no loss of water service for folks. Federal officials are assisting the investigation, and I remain ready to help with federal agencies,” he further stated.

“Attacks on our critical infrastructure like water are unacceptable. I intend to push for a full investigation here and accountability for the hackers,” Deluzio said.

Penn Live reported, “Cyber Av3ngers have taken responsibility for multiple attacks worldwide, including 10 water treatment stations in Israel as of Oct. 30.”

Iran is likely foreshadowing the types of attacks that could hit the United States should military action be taken directly against the Islamic State.

However, the United States also have formidable cyber capabilities to strike back at Iran.

The future of warfare will include these types of attacks to weaken the enemy on the home front without even dropping a bomb.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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