Former Kansas Water Facility Employee Pleads Guilty to Remotely Shutting Down Water System While ‘Intoxicated’

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A erstwhile worker of a agrarian cardinal Kansas h2o installation pleaded blameworthy connected Wednesday to tampering with its machine strategy and shutting down the plant, the Justice Department announced.

Wyatt Travnichek, 23, of Lorraine, pleaded blameworthy to 1 number of tampering with a nationalist h2o strategy and 1 number of reckless harm to a protected machine strategy during unauthorized access.

Travnichek was hired astatine the Post Rock Rural Water District in Ellsworth, which supplies h2o to astir 1,500 customers successful cardinal Kansas, in 2018 but resigned 1 twelvemonth later in January 2019, according to tribunal documents.

While moving astatine the plant, Travnichek was capable to show it aft hours utilizing a remote login strategy which could beryllium accessed via a shared passcode, according to the Kansas City Star.

Months aft helium had resigned, on March 27, 2019, the erstwhile worker allegedly utilized his compartment telephone to entree the distant strategy and shut down the plant, and crook disconnected 1 of its filters.

The Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation investigated the lawsuit and established that Travnichek’s compartment telephone was utilized to perpetrate the intrusion.

Travnichek aboriginal told officials that helium had been intoxicated astatine the clip of the incidental and didn’t retrieve thing astir that nighttime successful March.

The erstwhile worker faces a prison condemnation of 12 months and 1 day, though a district tribunal justice volition find a condemnation aft considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and different statutory factors.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney is prosecuting the case.

“Ensuring the information of our nation’s cyber infrastructure is 1 of the FBI’s apical priorities and the plea underscores the associated dedication to that effort by the FBI, EPA, and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation,” said FBI Special Agent successful Charge Charles Dayoub.

“There is nary uncertainty that Travnichek’s intentional actions straight placed the nationalist successful harm’s way. The plea should nonstop a wide connection to anyone who attempts to tamper with nationalist facilities—law enforcement volition stay resolute successful investigating immoderate and each threats that enactment the public’s wellness astatine risk,” Dayoub added.

Special Agent successful Charge Lance Ehrig of the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division successful Kansas said protecting America’s drinking h2o is simply a “top EPA priority.”

“EPA volition proceed our focused efforts with DOJ and the states arsenic we analyse and prosecute immoderate threats that mightiness beryllium directed toward captious assemblage drinking h2o resources,” Ehrig said.

Cybersecurity has go a cardinal absorption of the Biden administration. A devastating question of cyberattacks has compromised delicate authorities records and astatine times led to the shutdown of the operations of vigor companies, hospitals, and schools.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security announced new rules intended to curb the merchantability of violative cybersecurity products to immoderate countries with “authoritarian” practices.

An interim rule issued Wednesday states that U.S. companies and immoderate institution that sells U.S.-made cyber bundle volition request a licence erstwhile selling hacking tools oregon different cybersecurity items to definite overseas governments oregon immoderate buyers, including middlemen, that pose a hazard to a nationalist information oregon weapons of wide demolition concern, specified arsenic China and Russia.

Users restricted from utilizing these products would besides see those subject to arms embargoes.

“These items warrant controls due to the fact that these tools could beryllium utilized for surveillance, espionage, oregon different actions that disrupt, contradict oregon degrade the web oregon devices connected it,” the interim regularisation reads.

It is acceptable to instrumentality effect successful 90 days.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Katabella Roberts

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Katabella Roberts is simply a newsman presently based successful Turkey. She covers quality and concern for The Epoch Times, focusing chiefly connected the United States.