The PROCRUSTES testbed: tackling cyber-physical risk for water systems

G. Moraitis, D. Nikolopoulos, I. Koutiva, I. Tsoukalas, G. Karavokiros, and C. Makropoulos, The PROCRUSTES testbed: tackling cyber-physical risk for water systems, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, EGU21-14903, doi:10.5194/egusphere-egu21-14903, European Geosciences Union, 2021.



Our modern urban environment relies on critical infrastructures that serve vital societal functions, such as water supply and sanitation, which are exposed to various threats of both physical and cyber nature. Despite the progress in protection and increased vigilance, long-established practices within the water utilities may rely on precarious methods for the characterization and assessment of threats, with uncertainty pertaining to risk-relevant data and information. Sources for uncertainty can be attributed to e.g. limited capabilities of deterministic approaches, siloed analysis of water systems, use of ambiguous measures to describe and prioritise risks or common security misconceptions. To tackle those challenges, this work brings together an ensemble of solutions, to form a novel, unified process of resilience assessment for the water sector against an emerging cyber-physical threat landscape e.g., cyber-attacks on the command and control sub-system. Specifically, the proposed framework sets out an operational workflow that combines, inter alia, a) an Agent-Based Modelling (ABM) approach to derive alternative routes to quantify risks considering the dynamics of socio-technical systems, b) an adaptable optimisation platform which integrates advanced multi-objective algorithms for system calibration, uncertainty propagation analysis and asset criticality prioritization and c) a dynamic risk reduction knowledge-base (RRKB) designed to facilitate the identification and selection of suitable risk reduction measures (RRM). This scheme is overarched by a cyber-physical testbed, able to realistically model the interactions between the information layer (sensors, PLCs, SCADA) and the water distribution network. The testbed is designed to assess the water system beyond normal operational capacity. It facilitates the exploration of emergent and unidentified threats and vulnerabilities leading to Low Probability, High Consequence (LPHC) events that systems are not originally designed to handle. It also evaluates alternative risk treatment options against case-appropriate indicators. The final product is the accretion of actionable information to integrate risk into decision-making in a practical and standardized form. Our work envisions to bring forth state-of-art technologies and approaches for the cyber-wise water sector. We aspire to enhance existing capabilities for large utilities and enable small and medium water utilities with typically less resources, to reinforce their systems’ resilience and be better prepared against cyber-physical and other threats.

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Our works that reference this work:

1. G. Moraitis, I. Tsoukalas, P. Kossieris, D. Nikolopoulos, G. Karavokiros, D. Kalogeras, and C. Makropoulos, Assessing cyber-physical threats under water demand uncertainty, Environmental Sciences Proceedings, 21 (1), 18, doi:10.3390/environsciproc2022021018, October 2022.
2. G. Moraitis, G.-K. Sakki, G. Karavokiros, D. Nikolopoulos, P. Kossieris, I. Tsoukalas, and C. Makropoulos, Exploring the cyber-physical threat landscape of water systems: A socio-technical modelling approach, Water, 15 (9), 1687, doi:10.3390/w15091687, 2023.