Stealthy deception attacks on water SCADA systems

TitleStealthy deception attacks on water SCADA systems
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsAmin, S., X. Litrico, S. Sastry, and A. M. Bayen
Conference NameHSCC

This article investigates the vulnerabilities of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems which monitor and control the modern day irrigation canal systems. This type of monitoring and control infrastructure is also common for many other water distribution systems. We present a linearized shallow water partial differential equation (PDE) system that can model water flow in a network of canal pools which are equipped with lateral offtakes for water withdrawal and are connected by automated gates. The knowledge of the system dynamics enables us to develop a deception attack scheme based on switching the PDE parameters and proportional (P) boundary control actions, to withdraw water from the pools through offtakes. We briefly discuss the limits on detectability of such attacks. We use a known formulation based on low frequency approximation of the PDE model and an associated proportional integral (PI) controller, to create a stealthy deception scheme capable of compromising the performance of the closed-loop system. We test the proposed attack scheme in simulation, using a shallow water solver; and show that the attack is indeed realizable in practice by implementing it on a physical canal in Southern France: the Gignac canal. A successful field experiment shows that the attack scheme enables us to steal water stealthily from the canal until the end of the attack.