LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- A hacker tried to poison the water system in Florida. The attempt could have led to major illness or even fatalities in that community.
We got an inside look at Central Arkansas Water to see if we are protected from hacks like this one.
“It was troubling to us,” said Doug Shackelford, Director of Public Affairs and Communications Central Arkansas Water, “what happened in Florida was someone was able to get into their system remotely.”
Doug Shackelford with CAW says remote access to the system was eliminated years ago. So now chemical levels have to be adjusted by hand at the high-security facility.
“We have gates around all of our facilities, it’s all key card monitored. We have folks stationed here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Shackelford.
Shackelford said someone is always watching.
So, if there is any change in the system, like what happened in Florida, an alarm will sound throughout the building,
“Most of the time those alarms will go off for three seconds because someone in the control room has already figured out what the issue is and made the adjustment,” said Shackelford.
Another major difference is the chemicals we use in our water.
Lye was the chemical increased in the Florida water.
Here in Arkansas, Shackelford said we use Lime and Alum, which cannot be increased to a fatal level.
Shackelford said a system hack is not likely.
“Nothing is impossible but what we have tried to do as a utility is make it incredibly improbable,” said Shackelford.
CAW said it cannot publicly disclose the specific structures of its system due to obvious risks. However, they say the technology is cutting-edge.
Read CAW full statement below: