The Lead

Casey, Fetterman, Deluzio call for DOJ investigation into cyberattack on Aliquippa Water Authority

By: - November 30, 2023 4:19 pm

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Pennsylvania U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D) and John Fetterman (D) and U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-17th District) are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate a cyberattack on the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa last weekend. 

“Any attack on our nation’s critical infrastructure is unacceptable,” Casey, Deluzio, and Fetterman wrote in a joint letter to the DOJ. “If a hack like this can happen here in Western Pennsylvania, it can happen elsewhere in the United States.”

The joint letter states that “Cyber Av3ngers,” described as an Iranian-backed cyber group, is responsible for the Nov. 24 cyberattack. KDKA TV reported that the group hacked Israeli-made equipment in the water system, setting off an alarm. 

Matthew Mottes, chairman of the board of directors for the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa, told KDKA that there is no known risk to the drinking water or water supply, although members of the Pennsylvania State Police were called to begin a criminal investigation into the matter. 

TribLive reported on Wednesday that a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Police said the agency had turned the investigation over to the FBI and the federal Department of Homeland Security. 

“Folks in Pennsylvania and across the country deserve peace of mind that basic infrastructure such as their drinking water is safe from nation-state adversaries and terrorist organizations,” Casey, Deluzio, and Fetterman write in the joint letter. “We know that nation-state adversaries are targeting the weakest link in America’s critical infrastructure. We must ensure that our state and local governments, along with private companies, have cyber-defenses strong enough to fend off attacks from sophisticated actors.” 

State Rep. Rob Mercuri (R-Allegheny), who is seeking the GOP nomination for the 17th Congressional District held by Deluzio, attempted to blame the cyberattack on President Joe Biden, writing on social media that the Biden administration’s “erratic and lax defense policies have let [sic] us to this moment.” 

TribLive reported that as of Wednesday, state and federal government officials have not provided details about the information into the cyberattack.

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John Cole
John Cole

John Cole is a journalist based in Philadelphia. He's worked for various outlets such as The Northeast Times, PoliticsPA, and PCN. In these previous roles, he covered a wide range of topics from local civic association meetings to races across the commonwealth. He earned a degree in journalism from Temple University.