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February 11, 2021

Hack exposes vulnerability of cash-strapped water plants

By FRANK BAJAK, ALAN SUDERMAN and TAMARA LUSH
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A hacker's botched attempt to poison the water supply of a small Florida city is raising alarms about just how vulnerable the nation's water systems may be to attacks by more sophisticated intruders. Treatment plants are typically cash-strapped and lack the cybersecurity depth of the power grid and nuclear plants.

A local sheriff's startling announcement Monday that the water supply of Oldsmar, population 15,000, was briefly in jeopardy last week exhibited uncharacteristic transparency. Suspicious incidents are rarely reported and usually are chalked up to mechanical or procedural errors, experts say. No federal reporting requirement exists, and state and local rules vary widely.


 
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