The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently introduced new enforcement measures to address cybersecurity threats and safeguard the nation's drinking water, prompting concern among New Yorkers about the safety of their drinking water.

With a growing number of cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities affecting community drinking water systems, the EPA is taking urgent action to ensure compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Recent inspections have uncovered that over 70% of water systems inspected are not fully compliant with the Act's requirements. Some systems have been found to have critical cybersecurity vulnerabilities, posing significant risks to the safety and security of drinking water.

In response to these findings, the EPA is intensifying its enforcement activities under the Safe Drinking Water Act, planning to increase inspections and enforce civil and criminal actions when necessary. Emphasis is placed on assessing resilience vulnerabilities, including cybersecurity, and developing emergency response plans for water systems.

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Collaborating with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the EPA has recommended various actions for system operators to secure their water systems, such as minimizing exposure to public-facing internet, conducting regular cybersecurity assessments, changing default passwords, and developing cybersecurity incident response plans.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan have underscored the urgency of addressing cybersecurity threats and the importance of federal and state collaboration. They have urged each state to develop comprehensive strategies to mitigate cybersecurity vulnerabilities in water and wastewater systems. The EPA is also establishing a Task Force to identify additional actions and strategies to minimize the risk of cyberattacks on water systems nationwide.

For more information on the EPA's efforts to protect waterways and enhance cybersecurity in the water sector, you can visit the EPA's website.

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