May 14, 2021
CISA/FBI DarkSide Ransomware Alert - Best Practices for Preventing Business Disruption from Ransomware Attacks 
Yesterday, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) releases an advisory, “DarkSide Ransomware: Best Practices for Preventing Business Disruption from Ransomware Attacks.” CISA and FBI are urging critical infrastructure asset owners and operators to adopt a heightened state of awareness and implement the recommendations listed in this advisory.
 
Recently, DarkSide actors deployed DarkSide ransomware against a U.S. pipeline company’s information technology (IT) network. In response to the cyberattack, the company proactively disconnected certain operational technology (OT) systems to ensure the safety of the system. At this time, there are no indications that the threat actor moved laterally to OT systems.
 
This joint advisory provides technical details on DarkSide actors and some of their known tactics and preferred targets. According to open-source reporting, DarkSide actors have been targeting multiple large, high-revenue organizations. Also, the actors have previously been observed gaining initial access through phishing, exploiting remotely accessible accounts and systems and virtual desktop infrastructure.
 
CISA and FBI strongly recommends that critical system owners and operators prioritize reading this advisory and follow recommended mitigation and guidance to help protect against this malicious activity. 
 
In addition to the cybersecurity advisory (CSA), CISA and FBI urge critical infrastructure asset owners and operators to review the following resources for best practices on strengthening cybersecurity posture:
           
·        Joint Ransomware Guide, (CISA and Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center).
·        CISA webpage: Ransomware Guidance and Resources
·        CISA Insights: Ransomware Outbreak
·        CISA Pipeline Cybersecurity Initiative
2021 Florida/Alabama Joint Conference
Don't miss you chance for fun in the sun!
June 1-3, 2021
Perdido Beach Resort
27200 Perdido Beach Blvd.
Orange Beach, AL 36561
Phone (251) 981-9811/(800) 634-7263
Group Code: 17379
Just two week left to register for the the 2021 Alabama-Florida Joint Technical Training Conference! The event will be held at the Perdido Beach Resort in Perdido Beach, Alabama on June 1-3, 2021.

Attendees that live in the state of Florida may click here to register. Your registration will cover the meals and social events at the Conference, class attendance, and CEU fees. Member and Nonmember attendees pay one low price of $100. There is an additional charge of $30 for extra meals for those not attending the Conference. Florida attendees please click here to register.

This year's event will be hosted by the Alabama Rural Water Association, for updated information, please refer to their website at https://www.alruralwater.com/WEB/conference/alfl-1.php or contact them by phone at 334.396.5511. 

You may register for a booth at https://www.alruralwater.com/WEB/conference/joint-alfl-2021/alfl-exhibitors.php. This event usually sells out early so don't miss out!

For lodging information, please contact ARWA at https://www.alruralwater.com/WEB/conference/alfl-1.php

We look forward to seeing you all at the Beach for some Fun, Seafood, and CEU's! Book early! It has been way too long with the COVID pandemic!
NATIONAL NEWS

What a no-show El Niño might mean for this year's hurricane season This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. It’s a chance for people to get a head start on their prep for this year’s Atlantic hurricane season. more

Happy Infrastructure Day! A special appreciation is extended to all the professionals who work around the clock to ensure clean water is there when you need it! more

FBI investigating hacking threats at Pennsylvania water systems | WTAE This after hackers successfully penetrated a water system in Florida earlier this year. more

Local utilities stepping up cybersecurity amid growing threats | WTHR Central Indiana utility companies are putting safeguards in place to protect against increasing cyber attacks. more

President Biden Tours Carrollton Water Plant in New Orleans He stopped several times along the tour to speak with representatives from the New Orleans Water Board to learn more about the city’s efforts to modernize the water infrastructure. more

Jackson (MS) Loses Water Pressure After a Fire in its Water Treatment Plants Water pressure dropped Friday in Mississippi’s capital city after a fire broke out at one of Jackson’s two water treatment plants. more

Eighty-one Percent of Local Leaders Say They Conducted Board Meetings Virtually, Only 54% Expect to Continue the Practice After a year of tailoring their jobs to function during a pandemic, local government officials continue to believe that Covid-19 will have a lasting impact on the way they deliver services to constituents. more

Dayton Sues Air Force for $300 Million for PFAS Drinking Water Contamination The suit, filed in the Southern District of Ohio, accuses the base and the DOD of failing to stop water containing a group of so-called “forever chemicals” known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances ― or PFAS ― from flowing daily into the city’s Mad River Wellfield. more

EPA AWIA Risk Assessment and Emergency Response Plan -- Review and FAQs Webinar This webinar will review key topics and answer attendee questions from previous America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) workshops, webinars, and presentations. more

Potential Threat Vectors to 5G Infrastructure The fifth-generation (5G) of wireless technology represents a complete transformation of telecommunication 
networks, introducing a vast array of new connections, capabilities, and services. more

Local water systems not under threat of being hacked at this point | Daily Iberian When a water production facility in Oldsmar, Florida, had its computer systems hacked on Feb. 5, it sent shock waves through Homeland Security offices across the nation. more

Sustainability Key to Continuing Healthy Rural Water Systems The average American uses 80 to 100 gallons of water per day, but state water managers in 40 states expect water shortages, according to a government accountability report. more

A Day in the Life of a Circuit Rider If it was boredom that drew Rich Winters into the water and wastewater industry, he certainly found the right spot for relief. more

STATE NEWS

DeSantis says emergency order unnecessary over water quality, funds already available | WINK Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke Wednesday from the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. more

Water rules passed for Keystone Heights lakes; legal challenge continues | Florida Times Union A state agency on Tuesday finalized rules to protect water levels at Clay County’s shrunken Keystone Heights lakes despite a pending legal fight with Northeast Florida’s water utilities. more

FGCU students experimenting with hydrogen peroxide to kill blue-green algae | WINK Students at Florida Gulf Coast University are seeing if hydrogen peroxide can be used to kill or potentially stop toxic algae. more

DEP reports spill of treated waste at Lakeland facility after power outage | The Ledger The Florida Department of Environmental Protection reports a spill of 40,000 gallons of treated waste early Wednesday morning at the West Lakeland Wasteload Reduction Facility Overflow. more

Sewage spill caused by break contained in Biscayne Bay, however, no-swim order remains | Local 10 Spill occurred after contractor struck 60-inch sewer pipe in downtown Miami. more

Titusville sewage fallout could top half a million | Florida Today he more than seven million gallons of sewage Titusville spilled into the environment just before Christmas last year could wind up costing the city more than a half million dollars. more

Nutrients that fueled Pahokee algal bloom came from the basin inside the dike | Okeechobee News The toxic algal bloom in the Pahokee marina is gone. The most recent tests by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection show water quality is good ... for now. more

Hurricane Michael Disaster Communities Get $111 Million For Infrastructure Projects | WFSU More than a dozen communities recovering from Hurricane Michael are getting another round of federal disaster relief funding to help make their stormwater, sewage and water infrastructure more resilient. more
This Week in Water History
Cleaning Catch Basins in Louisville
May 10, 1917 Municipal Journal article. Cleaning Catch Basins in Louisville. “Louisville, Ky., is cleaning its catch-basins with a machine designed especially for this purpose, at one-fifth the cost of doing the work by the ordinary shovel and bucket method. There are a few more than 7,000 catch basins in the city, and previous to 1917 these had been cleaned by hand, as is the practice in most cities….

Since January 17th this method of cleaning has been discontinued and an appliance known as the Otterson eductor has been used….Briefly, it consists of a steel body on a motor chassis, and a sand ejector at the base of a pipe that is lowered into a catch basin and discharges into the tank; the ejector being operated by water from a centrifugal pump mounted on the truck, which uses the same water over again after the solid matter has settled out from it in the tank. Before beginning the day’s work the tank is filled about one-third full of water drawn from a fire hydrant or pumped up from any stream or other source.

In using this appliance in Louisville, the truck is driven alongside the basin to be cleaned, the manhole cover removed, the vertical steel pipe is swung out over the opening so uncovered and lowered into it until it reaches the bottom, and the engine started forcing water through the ejector. If the deposit in the basin is bard, it is softened by water injected through a stirring pipe; this water being drawn by the pump from that in the tank. After the basin is emptied, a flash light reveals any objects too large to be removed by the pump, and these are taken out by hand tools. If there was water in the basin already, about the same amount is run back into it from the tank after the basin has been cleaned, both because only a certain amount is desired in the tanks and also to seal the basin outlet.

Reference: “Cleaning Catch Basins in Louisville.” Municipal Journal. 42:19(May 10, 1917): 661-2.

Commentary: Not much has changed in 96 years of cleaning catch basins. We use vacuum cleaning trucks but the principle is the same.

To enjoy more opportunities to take a look at the past in water history, go to this link.