Is Your Water Safe to Drink?

In episode 293, Supply Chain Cyber Threats Getting Real, of the Help Me With HIPAA podcast, Donna and David once again tell us how important it is to update operating systems, ensure all the patches are in place, use 2 factor authentication, use a VPN if you are on an unsecured network, etc. We have all heard these recommendations over the years, but I think the incident Donna and David cover in this episode might just hit close to home and make clear how important these protocols really are.

Most everyone has heard of the Oldsmar’s water supply hacking event by now, but have you really stopped and thought about how close the water supply came to being poisoned? It isn’t some abstract event that happened where some hacker came in and stole files and peoples information was found on the dark web. Yes, that is very bad, but most of us have this ‘It won’t happen to me’ attitude. The water supply hack might help us understand that what hackers are doing can happen to not just someone else, but to us directly. The water supply hack could have poisoned a community just like the one you live in right now. A simple act of going to your sink and filling up your child’s glass with water could have killed them. Was this a complex operation on the bad actors part to infiltrate this water supply’s computer system? No, it was several small easily fixable protocols that allowed the bad actors to enter the system, not once but twice. Listen to this episode, Supply Chain Cyber Threats Getting Real, for all the details. But just know the only thing that stopped this hack from becoming deadly, was an employee that was monitoring the water supply system. What would have happened if that employee had gone to a break, or was looking at social media on their phone instead of what they were supposed to be doing. If he had not paid attention and taken action, this story could have been deadly.

You may think that your business is too small for the hackers to even mess with, but you are wrong. Many hackers are just like the street criminals breaking into cars in a neighborhood. They walk up to one, find the door is locked and move on to the next one until they find a car that is unlocked. That is what hackers can do to our computer networks. Are you confident that your computer systems are up to date, are continually being patched, and your team is using safe and secure tools? Are you sure your IT vendor is doing all they can to prevent a hacker from gaining access to your company’s network and data?