CalMutuals Monthly Newsletter
CalMutuals Continues to Grow!
This month, we welcome our newest members to the Association:
Bear Valley Mutual Water Company
Crestview Mutual Water Company
Green Valley Mutual Water Company
Krista Mutual Water Company
Lake Elizabeth Mutual Water Company
Mount Weske Estates Mutual Water Company
Raineri Mutual Water Company
Thank you for your support! We appreciate your membership!
CalMutuals President featured on Nationally Syndicated Show, FACETStv
CalMutuals President, Lisa Yamashita-Lopez, was invited by FACETStv to discuss mutual water companies, our history as the bedrock of the state's water system, and drought concerns.
A special thank you to Mr. David McNeil of EyeOn Productions for the invitation.
Cyber Security: Is Your Water System Vulnerable?
"Hacker Penetrates, Controls, Water Utility." The headline says it all. A recent article by cyber crime expert David McNeil, details the dangers that can occur when a water system is left unguarded and vulnerable to a cyber attack. For a utility that's vulnerable, a cyber attack can result in manipulation of the water system. An example of this was a water utility going by the pseudonym “Kemuri Water Company,” a system that was infiltrated by hackers with Syrian-ties (the real name is not revealed to prevent further threats to similar systems). The hackers managed to gain control of the valves that manage the system's chemical treatment.
To read the full article, click here
What You Can Do to Protect Your Water System?
David McNeil, who educates operators on how to protect their water systems from cyber attacks, advises water managers to take precautions by taking the following steps.
1) Get Familiar with the Risks!
The first step in protecting your operations is to take notice of the various cyber risks. Hackers, attackers, and intruders, seek to exploit weaknesses in software and computer systems for their personal gain. Although their intentions are sometimes benign, their actions are typically in violation of the intended use of the systems that they are exploiting. Malicious code better known as viruses, worms, and trojan horses are among the methods hackers utilize.
Types of Malicious Code:
2) Develop a risk management plan.
IT Risk Management Plans utilize industry standards and best practices to evaluate hazards at your organization. A plan will help your organization asses your exposure from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification or destruction of information. Consider the following when implementing risk management strategies at your organization:
- Viruses infiltrate your system through an email attachment, download, file, or by visiting a website.
- Worms is a code that reproduces and spreads through computer systems on its own, exposed through software flaw.
- Trojan Horse is disguised as a program that claims to do something to help your computer use (e.g. speed up processing) but instead, sends confidential information to a remote intruder.
3) Take Precautionary Measures When Selecting Your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Almost all ISPs offer Web browsing capabilities with a varying degree of user support and Web hosting capabilities. To select an ISP that will reduce your cyber risks, consider the following:
- Create a formal, documented risk management plan that addresses the scope, roles, responsibilities, compliance criteria and methodology for performing cyber risk assessments. This plan should include a characterization of all systems used at the organization based on their function, the data stored, processed, and importance to the organization.
- Review the cyber risk plan on an annual basis and update it when significant changes occur.
- Security - How concerned with security is the ISP provider?
To learn more about other ways to reduce your potential risks, click here.
- Services – Does your ISP offer the services that you want and do they meet your organization’s needs?
- Cost - Are the ISP’s cost affordable and are they reasonable for the number of services that you receive?
- Reliability – Are the services provided by the ISP reliable, or are they frequently unavailable due to maintenance, security problems and high volume of users?
- User support – Are there any published methods for contacting customer service, and do you receive prompt and friendly service?
- Speed – How fast is your ISP’s connection, and is it sufficient for accessing your email and navigating the Web?
- Recommendations – What have you heard from industry peers about the ISP?
Source: David McNeil, ARM 877.328.4390/714.856.4221
FREE Small Systems Workshop
California Rural Water Association will be hosting a small systems workshop on May 19th. The workshop will offer a guided self-assessment of your system to help identify critical areas for improvement.
The workshop will provide an opportunity to learn directly from other utilities who face similar issues. This 6-hour interactive workshop will focus on ten key management areas of effectively managed utilities.
When: Thursday, May 19th, sign-in 8:00 am, class 8:30 am - 3:30 pm.
Where: Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 3001 Buck Owens Blvd., Bakersfield, CA 93308
Registration: Click here
CalMutuals Legislative Bill Tracker: April 2016
To view a current list of legislation and our advocacy efforts on the protection of the state tax exemption status for mutuals and water rights through the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, click here
We will keep our members updated on the status of our advocacy efforts.