The combination of advanced metering hardware with controllable networked devices provides a unique opportunity to improve the reliability, efficiency, and level of automation of water distribution systems. The flipside of this technological development is their vulnerability to cyber-attacks: smart meters, sensors, PLCs, and SCADA represent an ‘attack surface’ that can be exploited by hackers to access private information or even disrupt system operations. What are the most vulnerable components? How do water distribution networks respond to cyber-attacks? Is it possible to detect them? To answer these questions, we first provide an overview of the mathematical modelling approaches available to simulate the behaviour of water distribution systems undergoing cyber-attacks. We show that most approaches focus primarily on the simulation of the physical processes, thereby overlooking the exchange of information between cyber and physical components. We thus continue by presenting epanetCPA, a toolbox designed to model explicitly these complex interactions. We then review the existing attack detection algorithms and discuss about their strength and weaknesses: existing techniques show appealing performance in controlled, simulated environments, but may misguide operators when implemented in real-world settings. We conclude this presentation by touching upon three topics that should be investigated in the near future, namely, the development of repositories containing data and information on cyber-attacks, scalability of detection algorithms to large-scale systems, and optimal control of water systems under cyber-attacks.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Stefano Galelli graduated in Environmental and Land Planning Engineering at Politecnico di Milano in 2007 and received a Ph.D. in Information and Communication Technology from the same university in early 2011. Before joining SUTD as Assistant Professor, Dr. Galelli spent two years as Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Singapore-Delft Water Alliance (National University of Singapore), where he led the Hydro-informatics research group. Dr. Galelli serves various research communities—AGU, EGU, ASCE and iEMSs—as reviewer and convener, and sits on the editorial board of Environmental Modelling & Software and the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. For this service, he received the Outstanding Reviewer Award from Environmental Modelling & Software and the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management in 2011 and 2015, respectively, and the 2018 Best Associate Editor Award for the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. At SUTD, Dr. Galelli leads the Resilient Water Systems Group, which develops algorithms and tools for the optimal operation of large-scale water resources systems. For his contribution to research, Dr. Galelli was awarded the Early Career Research Excellence Award (2014) by the international Environmental Modelling & Software society and the 2017 SUTD Excellence in Research Award.

For more information about the ESD Seminars Series, please contact Karthik Natarajan at karthik_natarajan@sutd.edu.sg.