May 8, 2023

California’s Vulnerable Water System Faces Many Cyber Threats. Andrew Reddie Explains Why.

From Los Angeles Times

Cracks, hacks, attacks: California’s vulnerable water system faces many threats

By Hayley Smith

On a February morning in 2021, a water treatment plant operator in Oldsmar, Fla., noticed something unusual: An unidentified user had remotely accessed the plant’s computer system and was moving the mouse around the screen.

The operator watched as the intruder clicked into various software programs before landing on a function that controls the amount of sodium hydroxide, or lye, in the plant’s water system. The hacker then increased the amount of lye — a potentially dangerous substance used to control acidity — from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million...

Andrew Reddie, an assistant professor of practice in cybersecurity at UC Berkeley’s School of Information, said much of the problem is “driven by the fact that the infrastructure is really, really old, and ultimately predates the era that we find ourselves in now, where we actually bake cybersecurity into these ... systems by design...”


Andrew Reddie is an Assistant Professor of Practice at the School of Information as well as founder and director of the Berkeley Risk and Security Lab. 

Last updated:

May 9, 2023