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City of Fort Morgan General News & Announcements

Posted on: February 12, 2021

City Moves to Protect Water Supply from Malicious Hacks

The City of Fort Morgan announced today that its Water Department will soon be protected by a specialized operational technology (OT) cybersecurity system.

The City has contracted with Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to install the SNC Binary Armor® cybersecurity family of products to protect its critical infrastructure from internal and external threats to the valves and pumps that control and protect the City’s water treatment and distribution systems.

 

Earlier this month, a hacker gained access to valves in the City of Oldsmar, Fla., water treatment plant in an attempt to poison the water supply with a caustic chemical.

 

The Florida incident reinforced a U.S. Department of Homeland Security concern regarding the growing risk of cyberattacks on operational technology systems. 

 

In 2014, the City of Fort Morgan installed Binary Armor to protect its electric utilities.

 

“Binary Armor has provided our City’s electrical and power grid an affordable and simple solution for the complex problem of OT protection for several years,” said Brent Nation, Fort Morgan’s director of water resources and utilities. “The City is pleased that we are now extending that protection to our water supply as well.”

 

Binary Armor provides critical, real-time, endpoint cybersecurity. Its patented technology stops both internal and external threats from reaching OT, including malware and intentionally unsafe or erroneous instructions that cause motors to spin too fast, valves to open or close at inappropriate times, or switches to turn out of sequence. By allowing only pre-approved, known, safe messages to reach OT, Binary Armor protects against insider threats and human error and enforces workflow to reduce the likelihood of equipment damage and personnel injury.

 

Binary Armor has been tested and validated by both U.S. Department of Defense and industry labs with continuous operation since 2014 on utility supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.

 

Pete Fischer, who oversees Binary Armor development as senior director of programs at SNC, said the company is proud of its track record protecting utility SCADA and control systems in Fort Morgan and beyond.

 

“Additionally, we are pleased that utility partners are confident in the U.S. Department of Defense and other certifications along with the demonstrated results achieved by Binary Armor,” Fischer said. “Proof is always in performance, which includes the demanding certifications Binary Armor has achieved.”

 

 

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