How does cybersecurity relate to dam or levee security?

Cyber systems in the United States are the most aggressively targeted information systems in the world, with attacks increasing in severity, frequency, and sophistication each year.

In the modern automated workplace, disruption of the information technology (IT) system could bring any organization to a standstill or lead to a dangerous lack of control over sensitive records or over physical processes (e.g., operational control over dam releases or power generation).

An aggressor could attempt to disable such systems or even hijack them to intentionally operate the dam improperly, in order to cause damage. Adversaries could infiltrate cyber systems to:

  • Cause economic and operational damage.
  • Alter, corrupt, or steal information.
  • Overload the equipment.
  • Mount attacks on other systems.
  • Operate control mechanical equipment in such a way as to cause damage and inflict onsite and offsite casualties.
  • Gain information about the facility or personnel, including information on operating schedules, contractors, and security.
  • Conduct surveillance via webcam or private brand exchange systems.
  • Cause additional consequences when used in coordination with a physical attack.

Tools and Resources for Information on Cyber Security

Dams Sector Roadmap to Secure Control Systems
This document describes a plan and strategic vision for voluntarily improving the cybersecurity posture of control systems within the Dams Sector.

Information Products from DHS Industrial Control Systems - Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT)
ICS-CERT works to reduce risks within and across all critical infrastructure sectors by partnering with law enforcement agencies and the intelligence community and coordinating efforts among Federal, state, local, and tribal governments and control systems owners, operators, and vendors.

Highlighted printable materials from ICS-CERT for dam owners with control systems

Publications via DHS United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT)
Publications to help with everything from setting up your first computer to understanding the nuances of emerging threats.

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