April 24, 2024

Gallego Leads Bipartisan Call to Protect Water Facilities from Cyber Hacks

PHOENIXReps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-03) and Pat Fallon (R-TX-04) sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas calling for a briefing and answers about the cyber hack launched against the city water system of Muleshoe, Texas, in January. Investigations since the hack have attributed it to Sandworm, a hacking group believed to be connected to Russia’s spy agency, the GRU.

“As you may know, much of the American West is experiencing a historic, long-term drought that makes fortifying water supplies from vulnerabilities like adversary disruption efforts all the more important. Should a hack similar to the Texas incident occur in Arizona or other states that may lack sufficient water supply, it could disrupt operations across the region with devastating effects.” the Members write.

In light of recent reporting about potential Russian involvement, the members requested a briefing to answer the following questions:

  1. What action is your department currently taking to respond to this hack?
  2. What are the short-, medium-, and long-term disruptions that resulted from this hack?
  3. How are you coordinating with local officials and any relevant international allies and partners?
  4. What additional steps are you taking to protect our nation’s water facilities and other critical infrastructure from adversary disruption?
  5. What additional authorities may you need to fully protect our nation’s water infrastructure?
  6. What lessons has your department learned from previous hacks, including an incident when an Iranian regime-linked cyber group executed a cyber-attack against a water authority in Pennsylvania last year?

Full text of the letter can be found HERE.

This is the second letter sent by Rep. Gallego regarding hacks on U.S. water facilities. In December 2023, Reps. Gallego (AZ-03) and Jim Banks (IN-03) requested a briefing from Secretary Mayorkas about the protections DHS has or intends to put in place to protect the United States’ water facilities and other critical infrastructure from adversary disruption.