Water Companies On Alert Over Russian Cyber Attack Threats

With tensions between Russia and the UK building over the last few weeks, the fear now is that critical national infrastructure in Britain could be at risk from a serious cyber attack on the part of the Russians.


Water suppliers, energy companies and banks are now on maximum alert, the Guardian reports, with organisations like Water UK now working alongside the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to assess what the next steps from Moscow will be after the Salisbury chemical attack and the murder of Nikolai Glushkov.


The NCSC is based within GCHQ and works to notify UK companies and the government of the latest threat levels. It is now monitoring Russian activity here in the UK, although it’s thought that no specific threat from the country has emerged since the Salisbury incident.


Speaking to the Observer, former director of GCHQ Robert Hannigan said: “[The Russians are] constantly being found on networks but it’s their intent that matters more than the fact they are there. The difficulty with cyber is that you can be on a network to gather intelligence or you can be on a network to do something destructive and the two look pretty much the same.”


Figures from the NCSC show that over 1,100 cyber attacks have taken place over the last 12 months, 590 of which were considered significant. Some 30 of these required action by government organisations, a number of which specifically targeted the financial sector here in the UK.


Back in January, the government announced that organisations could face fines of up to £17 million if they don’t put effective cyber security measures in place. New regulators will be introduced to assess critical industries like energy, water, transport and health to ensure that the plans they implement are as robust as possible.


Minister for digital and the creative industries Margot James noted that the aim is for essential infrastructure and services to be ready to tackle any cyber attacks and bolster their resilience against major disruption.


New guidance has also been published by the NCSC to help organisations comply with regards to security measures. Fines would be a last resort and won’t apply to those that have assessed the risks appropriately, rolled out the right security measures and engaged with regulators on the matter but which have still suffered an attack.


If you’re worried how your business would be affected if water supplies were shut off because of a cyber attack, you might benefit from looking into commercial rainwater harvesting so you have a back-up option in case something does happen.


This is simply the process of collecting and storing rainwater deposited on your roof area, water that is then filtered and reused instead of your mains water. Typical applications include vehicle washing, toilet flushing, process and laundry water – so you could find it particularly useful later down the line, whether there’s a cyber attack or not.


Get in touch with the team here at H2O Building Services to find out more.