When international cyber-warfare came to NYC’s suburbs

In 2013, Iranian cyber-hackers got into the control system of the Bowman Avenue Dam, a vital piece of infrastructure in Rye Brook

The attack represented a new frontier in cyber-warfare, and Mayor Paul Rosenberg needed to take action to prevent a potentially catastrophic event.

“While they may have gotten into the computer software that controls the dam, they did not have the ability to actually to actually manipulate the dam remotely in any way,” said Rosenberg. “When we were told that the software was compromised, we decided at that point in time we will not put the dam online."

According to Rosenberg, if the cyber-attackers had gotten control of the dam they could have caused significant flooding both upstream and downstream, affecting the village of Rye Brook and the city of Rye. 

But why target a small dam in a village of less than 10,000 people?

“It’s possible that whoever did this was maybe thinking of the Bowman Dam that’s out west…. It is a real huge dam, and I’m wondering if they thought that’s what they were hacking,” Rosenberg said.

The dam is now offline to prevent it from being hacked again.


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