Water utilities are quickly gaining understanding that securing their control centers and systems from potential cyber attacks is a top priority.
Naturally in Israel this understanding has arrived more quickly than in other parts of the world, and Jerusalem’s regional water & wastewater utility, Hagihon, has placed itself at the forefront of the cyber protection arena with a breakthrough project.
“Hagihon has always been very innovative, they are always looking to go above and beyond regulatory requirements, and this is very evident in this project”, says Motti Segal, Chief Operating Officer of Lead Control of the YSB Group, the engineering management company which implemented the project. According to Segal, the Hagihon solution provides the Jerusalem regional water utility with a level of security that is unprecedented in Israel, and perhaps the world.
“The Hagihon project is unique because it offers a high level of security to both work stations and the central control center. Even if someone ‘from the inside’ does something unauthorized, like using an unrecognized USB flash drive, the system will provide an alert,” explains Segal.
The cyber project was the initiative of Hagihon’s CEO Zohar Yinon. Hagihon CIO Shay Shoval provides more input regarding the technology: “Our project was the first in Israel to implement a PCI standard in a SAP environment and to provide robust protection to utility SCADA’s. The model we developed can serve other water utilities in Israel and we expect that the Israeli Water Authority will require its implementation widely.”
But Hagihon’s new solution is expected to make waves far beyond Israel’s shores. Adi Yefet, who heads the water arena at Israel NewTech, a government program promoting Israel’s water and energy sectors, is focused on building export routes for Israeli technologies. “Protection of water utilities from cyber attacks is now at the top of mind of many water utilities around the world. Perhaps the two most advanced industries in Israel are the defense industry and the water industry. Providing security for water utilities combines exactly these two industries, plus expertise in hi-tech, another of Israel’s strengths.”
Motti Segal of Lead Control recently returned from Belgium where he attended a conference hosted by Samaphore, a company which supplies telemetry solutions. Next week he will be attending a conference in the Black Sea hosted by Sauter, a Swiss company which provides energy efficient building management solutions. Lead Control is very active in the water arena, but also in energy and other industries.
“In this conference I just attended in Belgium I could really sense that utilities from around the world are becoming very concerned about the cyber issue, and are willing to invest significant funds to improve their levels of protection. Israel is very well-positioned to take a leadership role in this industry, and breakthrough projects like Hagihon’s can serve as models for advanced solutions throughout the world,” concludes Segal.
In summary Hagihon’s CEO Yinon says: I’m proud that Hagihon has once again identified the new challenges facing critical infrastructure utilities and is leading the efforts in developing and implementing the relevant solutions.”