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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Report Highlights

City of Binghamton - Water System Cybersecurity (2018M-152)

Released: November 30, 2018 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether City officials adequately safeguarded electronic access to the water system.

Key Findings

City officials did not:

  • Adequately safeguard the electronic access to the water system.
  • Implement a formal process to stay updated on system cybersecurity threats.
  • Prevent or monitor public disclosure of information that could jeopardize the water system.
  • Provide staff with cybersecurity awareness training.

In addition, sensitive information technology (IT) control weaknesses were communicated confidentially to City officials.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish a process for receiving and assessing system cybersecurity alerts.
  • Adopt policies and procedures to better safeguard the water system.
  • Prohibit the disclosure of information that can jeopardize the system and monitor for and remove such publicly shared information.
  • Provide cybersecurity awareness training to personnel.
  • Address the confidentially communicated IT recommendations.

District officials generally agreed with our recommendations and have initiated or indicated they planned to initiate corrective action. Appendix B includes our comment on an issue raised in the District’s response letter.

Background

The City of Binghamton (City) is located within Broome County. The elected seven-member Common Council (Council) is responsible for managing City operations. The Water and Sewer Superintendent (Superintendent) is responsible for overseeing and managing day-to-day water operations.

The City maintains a computerbased system that controls and monitors water flows, levels, pressure and quality characteristics such as pH, temperature and turbidity. The water filtration plant supervisor is responsible for overseeing this system. The IT Manager is responsible for managing the networking devices and the internet connection. The City relies on two service providers for IT support on an as-needed basis.

Quick Facts
Residents47,400
Water Customers 13,740
2018 Water Fund Appropriations $7.4 million
Water Plant Employees 11
Gallons of Water Treated Daily 4.5 million

Audit Period

January 1, 2017 – May 7, 2018


Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.ny.gov
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236