Feb 22, 2021 - News

Lessons learned from the Oldsmar water hack

Water pours from faucet

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The FBI urged government agencies and private companies to update their Windows operating systems last week in light of the Oldsmar water hack.

What happened: Investigators have been searching for the person who gained remote access to the control and data systems at the Oldsmar drinking water treatment facility on Feb. 5 and attempted to dangerously increase the amount of lye.

Investigators suspect a desktop-sharing software was likely used to access the system, which was running on Windows 7 with every person using the same password.

Three easy recommendations from the feds (useful even if you're not in charge of vital public infrastructure):

  1. Update to the latest version of your operating system.
  2. Use multiple-factor authentication.
  3. Use strong passwords to protect Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) credentials.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) asked DeSantis on Friday that Florida's cybersecurity be discussed at the state's next cabinet meeting.

  • Since 2013, Florida has faced the fourth-most local government cyberattacks of any state, Fried wrote.
  • She said the median cost of cyber breaches is as high as $1.8 million.

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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