Smart Water Symposium

Oral

397389 - Security of smart water systems: challenges, opportunities and best practices

Monday, June 4
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Location: Lakeshore A

Smart water systems are transforming the discipline of water resources management by enabling massively scalable sensing and control of water infrastructure. However, the marriage of critical infrastructure with the Internet of Things (IoT) has raised security concerns that have yet to be fully addressed. Network outages, software bugs, and cyberattacks may render smart water systems inoperable, cause property damage, or even result in loss of life. In this presentation, we survey the unique security concerns surrounding smart water systems, evaluate the magnitude of potential risks, evaluate state-of-the art security solutions, and discuss our own best practices based on two years of managing a smart stormwater control network in the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan. We compare the security issues faced by traditional SCADA systems with those faced by new generations of smart water systems, and conclude that while web-based systems suffer from an increased attack surface, they often offer more robust security features overall. To assess the consequences of a security breach, we simulate adversarial scenarios on a hydraulic (SWMM) model of a real-world smart stormwater network. Based on these simulations, we find that impacts are largely sensitive to hydro-meteorological conditions, controller implementation, and response time. Finally, we share lessons learned based on practical experience running a large-scale smart water network, and provide open-source software implementations of important security features---including Transport Layer Security (TLS/SSL) for embedded sensor nodes, a device identity management system, and tools for intrusion detection.

Matthew David Bartos

Graduate Student
University of Michigan

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