Protecting Water and Sanitation Infrastructure from Cyberthreats: A Cybersecurity Study for Latin America and the Caribbean

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Laubshtein, Yanir
May 2023
The water and sanitation sector is essential for livelihoods and has therefore been recognized by most countries as critical infrastructure. While the growing trend of automation and digitalization of water sector infrastructures improves efficiencies and helps reduce operating costs, it also exposes the sector's facilities and operations to ever-increasing cyber risks. The number and variety of cyberthreats and malicious actors is rapidly increasing: from nation-state actors seeking to cause political and social chaos as well as disrupt economies, cybercriminals looking for profit, and hacktivists driven by ideological or personal agendas to individuals attempting to get a break on their bills.
This document is the first of its kind published by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to examine cyber threats in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) water and sanitation sector. The report reviews water sector technologies and explains the cyberthreats facing water infrastructure technology. It assesses LAC's water sector cybersecurity readiness using written material and interviews with key representatives of public sector institutions and other water utilities in LAC. Finally, it presents a series of recommendations for public and private sector actors.