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Laurel, Md. – June 25, 2021 – WSSC Water is investigating a ransomware attack on May 24 that impacted a portion of our network that operates non-essential business systems. The ransomware virus was successfully removed within hours and WSSC Water is fully operational. The incident does not impact water or wastewater service or quality, and those systems were never at risk. Existing cybersecurity safeguards and swift action taken by WSSC Water’s IT department helped minimize the impact of this attack. WSSC Water has not and will not pay or support the criminals behind this cyberattack. 

“WSSC Water continues to produce and deliver safe, clean water to 1.8 million customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and at no time was the quality or reliability of our drinking water in jeopardy,” said WSSC Water Police and Homeland Security Director David McDonough.

The systems that operate WSSC Water’s filtration and wastewater treatment plants are, by design, stand-alone networks not connected to the Internet. WSSC Water restored files from back-ups and there was no significant impact on business operations. WSSC Water maintains a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and is regularly testing its security protocols. WSSC Water will continue to investigate this incident and take steps to protect the integrity of its systems and data.

“These attacks have become more common, especially in recent weeks, and WSSC Water has prepared for this type of event,” added McDonough.

A comprehensive investigation is underway. WSSC Water has notified the FBI, Maryland Attorney General and state and local homeland security officials and will cooperate with any investigation. WSSC Water’s own investigation is expected to take several weeks before all the facts are known.

While the virus was not successful, it appears the ransomware criminals did gain access to internal files. As the investigation continues, WSSC Water will notify in writing any individuals whose personal identifying information was exposed. Those individuals will be offered five years of credit monitoring with $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance at no cost to them.

All individuals are encouraged to remain vigilant and closely examine their financial statements and report anything suspicious to their bank or card issuer. Individuals can also access to report any suspicious activity and to learn how to freeze their credit.

WSSC Water is the proud provider of safe, seamless and satisfying water services, making the essential possible every day for our neighbors in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. We work to deliver our best because it’s what our customers expect and deserve.