A Review of Cybersecurity Incidents in the Water Sector

Amin Hassanzadeh, Amin Rasekh, Stefano Galelli, Mohsen Aghashahi, Riccardo Taormina, Avi Ostfeld, M. Katherine Banks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


This study presents a critical review of disclosed, documented, and malicious cybersecurity incidents in the water sector to inform safeguarding efforts against cybersecurity threats. The review is presented within a technical context of industrial control system architectures, attack-defense models, and security solutions. Fifteen incidents were selected and analyzed through a search strategy that included a variety of public information sources ranging from federal investigation reports to scientific papers. For each individual incident, the situation, response, remediation, and lessons learned were compiled and described. The findings of this review indicate an increase in the frequency, diversity, and complexity of cyberthreats to the water sector. Although the emergence of new threats, such as ransomware or cryptojacking, was found, a recurrence of similar vulnerabilities and threats, such as insider threats, was also evident, emphasizing the need for an adaptive, cooperative, and comprehensive approach to water cyberdefense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number03120003
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering (United States)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Environmental Science(all)


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