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Michigan Water Security

September 8, 2014

Water Infrastructure and Public Info can be problematic.
Understanding how and why flooding occurs, is hampered by
non-transparent resources in many Michigan cities.

WaterISAC – The Water Sector’s Official Threat & Preparedness Resource

Increasing Safety and Resilience:
Understanding the Threat to Water Infrastructure

Water Security Summit
Michigan AWWA Section
June 4, 2013

Overview of WaterISAC

Security and emergency response tools and resources to help
improve safety and resilience in an all hazards environment

The current physical and cyber threat environment
facing water and wastewater utilities

Recent security incidents

What and where to report

WaterISAC’s mission is to provide water and wastewater
utilities and the federal, state, and local government agencies
responsible for water security with the information and tools
needed to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from all


Authorized under the Bioterrorism Act

Launched in 2002 by utility managers as a non-profit

Designated the official communications/operations arm of
the Water Sector Coordinating Council

The only centralized, real-time source for water sector
security and emergency management information


More than 3,500 Pro members; 8,000 Basic members

Water and wastewater utility staff

State drinking water, public health, and environmental agencies

DHS, EPA and FBI staff

Fusion centers and law enforcement personnel

State and local security and emergency response agencies

All applicants for membership are vetted.


U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security

FBI , U.S. EPA , FEMA , Centers for Disease Control

National Weather Service/NOAA

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

National, State Water Associations

Law Enforcement and Intelligence Fusion Centers

Private Intelligence Organizations

Searchable library of Library more than 2,500
papers, reports, guidance, and best-practice documents
including sensitive intelligence products
designated FOUO and U.S. Eyes Only.

Problem: Need to improve employee emergency
preparedness. . . on a tight budget.
Solution: Browsing the WaterISAC Pro library
reveals self-directed training programs
and courses hosted by water industry associations, DHS, and EPA.

Contaminant Databases

Contaminant databases maintained by private scientific
institutions and U.S. EPA

Assessment Tools

Problem: Your Emergency Response Plan lacks procedures
for a power outage.

Solution: The U.S. EPA’s Tabletop Exercise Tool for Water Systems
contains multiple natural-hazard scenarios.
Run the tool from the WaterISAC portal and
gain valuable lessons to improve
your emergency preparedness posture.

Webcasts & Training

Problem: Staff need NIMS-certification for disaster recovery funding.

Solution: Review NIMS training webinar series to prepare for online examinations

Problem: Convince city manager of risks from malicious insiders

Solution: Listen to the recording of the Mesa, AZ webcast
on attempted destruction of wastewater treatment plant

Member-to-Member Dialog

Online discussions , Networking , Content creation

Problem: An employee is exhibiting emotional distress,
and you are concerned about where that could lead.
You want to know how other utilities have handled such situations.

Solution: You start a discussion thread or identify
relevant contacts through the personal profile pages
on the WaterISAC secure portal.

Intelligence Analysts

Email —

24-Hr Hotline 866-h2o-isac

Problem: Suspicious vehicle repeatedly passing your front gate.

Solution: Contact the WaterISAC analyst, who reviews recent incident
reports for possible trends and contacts other utilities/partners.

Problem: In the aftermath of a disaster, you’re having trouble getting
the attention of your state EOC and FEMA.

Solution: Call the WaterISAC analyst who uses his contacts to put you and
the relevant authorities in touch with each other.

Threat & Incident Alerts

Problem: A hurricane or tsunami is approaching your location.

Solution: Storm tracking and infrastructure impact
assessments sent from WaterISAC enable you to
implement your emergency response and business continuity plans,
ensuring that your employees are in safe
locations and appropriate alternate power sources are standing by.

WaterISAC Sensitive and Proprietary Threat Analysis

Potential Attack Scenarios




Potential Perpetrators

Terrorists, including homegrown violent extremists and domestic
terrorist organizations of varying ideologies

Insiders , Criminals and vandals , Natural Disasters, Industrial Accidents

Increased identification of cyber vulnerabilities and attention to
industrial control systems by a variety of threat actors.

Economic conditions continue to make theft,
particularly of metal, an attractive target.

Open source technology resources may inadvertently identify
sensitive information

Malicious insiders with knowledge of critical operations or access to
sensitive information are significant risks.

In Inspire magazine, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula has urged
Westerners to conduct attack in their own countries against a range of
targets, including critical infrastructure.

Attacks by violent, single-issue extremists and active shooters
represent a largely unspecific threat

Prepared by WaterISAC’s intelligence analyst, based on:

Unclassified information discussed in briefings with U.S.
Government intelligence analysts, and

Incident reports submitted by WaterISAC members and law
enforcement agencies.

In the first half of this year, WaterISAC received reports of the
following suspicious activities and incidents at water utilities:

Physical Intrusion

Sabotage / tampering / vandalism

Cyber incidents


Suspicious encounters

Specific Incidents

Insider Attack/Intrusion/Theft
The thief circumvented the intrusion alarm system at a pump site by breaking
into a HVAC vent, gaining access into the facility without activating any alarms.
The suspect stole copper wire and caused the disinfection system to stop running.
Police and utility believe an insider was involved due to knowledge of protocols.

Verbal Threat/Contamination
An individual mentioned to local convenience store employees how easy it
would be to cause trouble by contaminating the local water supply, specifically
with gasoline. Investigation determined the suspect had been arrested for making
threats against other infrastructure in the area, prompting federal charges.

Suspicious Encounter/Observations
Police and state homeland security investigated an individual who was stopped
while flying a remote controlled helicopter with GPS and camera over a dam that
provided source water for a local utility.

Incident Reporting

Timely, detailed incident and suspicious activity reporting is key to our
collective security

Enables greater and more effective incident notifications

Building library for tracking and analysis

Design and implementation of protective measures

Report an incident to WaterISAC

1-866-426-4722 x 3

Contact Information

Eric Meyers
Lead Analyst

866-H2O-ISAC x 3

1620 I Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20006


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