Model-based approach for cyber-physical attack detection in water distribution systems

Mashor Housh, Ziv Ohar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modern Water Distribution Systems (WDSs) are often controlled by Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) which manage their operation and maintain a reliable water supply. As such, and with the cyber layer becoming a central component of WDS operations, these systems are at a greater risk of being subjected to cyberattacks. This paper offers a model-based methodology based on a detailed hydraulic understanding of WDSs combined with an anomaly detection algorithm for the identification of complex cyberattacks that cannot be fully identified by hydraulically based rules alone. The results show that the proposed algorithm is capable of achieving the best-known performance when tested on the data published in the BATtle of the Attack Detection ALgorithms (BATADAL) competition (

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-143
Number of pages12
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was made possible by the financial support of the Israeli Water Authority (grant #4501284516 ), The Center for Cyber Law & Policy and The Minerva Center for the Rule of Law . The authors would also like to thank the BATtle of the Attack Detection ALgorithms (BATADAL) organizers: Dr. RICCARDO TAORMINA, Prof. STEFANO GALELLI, Dr. NILS OLE TIPPENHAUER, Prof. AVI OSTFELD, Mr. ELAD SALOMONS and Dr. DEMETRIOS ELIADES for organizing the battle and providing the data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Cyber-attacks
  • Cyber-physical systems
  • Event detection methodology
  • Model-based fault detection
  • Water distribution systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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