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Emergency Information

AFTS, Inc. Data Security Breach

Alderwood Water & Wastewater District (the District) was informed that a vendor called Automatic Funds Transfer Services, Inc. (AFTS) was the victim of a ransomware attack. The District contracts with AFTS to handle utility billing and the processing of paper check payments. There is no direct threat to the District’s network as a result of this incident.

The information stored in the AFTS databases is limited to data necessary to fulfill utility billing and payment processing of paper check payments. Electronic payments are processed by a different vendor who is not impacted by the incident. Breached utility billing from the AFTS database may have included the following personal information: utility bill account number, name, address, and billing amounts. Additionally, for customers who pay their utility bills by mailing a paper check, scanned copies of their paper checks are also stored on the AFTS servers which include bank account and routing information. It is unknown at this time whether these scanned copies of checks have been illicitly extricated from the network.

Customers who pay their utility bill by mailing a paper check are encouraged to monitor their bank account for unusual activity and report anything suspicious to their bank right away. The most immediate impacts to our customers are a possible delay in processing check payments or a temporary disruption in viewing a digital version of your billing statement online.

Customers who pay by check are encouraged to use one of the following methods listed below.

  1. Pay via online payment portal
  2. Call toll free at 1-866-899-1313 for VISA and MasterCard payments
  3. Use the District’s drop box in front of the administrative building.
  4. Address your payment directly to the administrative building:

Alderwood Water & Wastewater District
3626 156th St. SW
Lynnwood, WA 98087

Alderwood Water & Wastewater District takes its role of safegaurding personal information very seriously. We will continue to keep you informed as we adopt additional measures to ensure the highest level of security for personal information. For questions please contact Jeremy Walker at 206-485-1183 or email us at aftsquestions@awwd.com.

District’s Response to Florida Cybersecurity Attack

The Alderwood Water and Wastewater District receives its water supply from the City of Everett Water Treatment Plant.  The Alderwood Water and Wastewater District and City of Everett constantly monitor threats to the water supply.  We are aware of the news out of Florida of a hacker’s attempt to contaminate a city’s water supply.  Everett has security measures in place to protect access and control of the Water Treatment Plant system (SCADA).  We are also a member of The Washington Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (WAWARN), Washington Association of Sewer and Water Districts (WASWA), and American Water Works Association who monitor and inform members of threats against water utilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the District control remote access to its systems?

District staff monitor its system through an automated telephone interface and a physically isolated, read only interface that is not connected to the internet. Remote access is limited through Zero Trust defined perimeter hardware that limits communications at a device to device level.

What other cybersecurity protocols has the District implemented?

District staff follows the American Water Works Associations Risk Management Guidance recommendations and NIST Cybersecurity Framework.  

What redundancies are in place to monitor water quality?

We have Chlorine/pH analyzers throughout the district that are visited daily as well as monitored 24-hours a day through our SCADA system. We also visit our reservoir sites during our daily Water Quality rounds.

Has the District experienced similar attacks?

No. We actively focus efforts to identify, protect, detect, and respond to cyber threats.  We have a plan in place to recover our system should an attack occur.