Biden administration sounds the alarm on escalating cyberattacks

Experts warn that cyberattacks are increasing, especially with the advancements in artificial intelligence.

In the past year, there have been several attacks on city government, local agencies, and school districts in North Texas. Now, the federal government has issued a new warning about a specific attack targeting water systems.

The Biden administration sent a letter to all U.S. governors alerting them to hackers targeting water and wastewater systems nationwide. These attacks are believed to be carried out by state-sponsored hacking groups from Iran and China.

David Malicoat, a Dallas-based cybersecurity expert and host of The Professional CISO podcast, expressed concern over the credibility of the threat posed by these attacks.

With the rise in cyber threats, Malicoat emphasized the importance of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) in local municipalities. He noted the vulnerability of small water districts in the U.S., which are often not well-resourced and lack full-time cybersecurity staff.

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Hackers target water systems to infiltrate technical operations and potentially disrupt access to water. Malicoat highlighted past instances where threat actors gained unauthorized access to systems, posing serious risks.

When asked about the federal warning, the City of Dallas water utilities assured that they are actively monitoring global threats and engaging with cybersecurity experts to safeguard their systems.

Similarly, the water department in Fort Worth remains vigilant following the federal alert and has not experienced any cyber breaches on their water operations.


Malicoat addressed the increasing threat of cyberattacks driven by financial motives, particularly ransomware attacks that target personal or sensitive data. Recent incidents, such as the Tarrant Appraisal District and UT Southwestern Medical Center breaches, underscore the vulnerability of organizations to cyber threats.

Malicoat warned that cyberattacks are likely to surge as technology advances and the election year creates opportunities for malicious actors.


To protect against cyber threats, Malicoat recommended changing passwords frequently and using reputable password keepers like 1Password, Keeper, and LastPass.

Implementing multi-factor authentication and following core cybersecurity practices outlined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can also enhance security measures.

  • Avoid clicking on links in emails
  • Avoid opening attachments
  • Avoid sharing personal information
  • Verify website URLs
  • Exercise caution with unknown emails or messages
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