Battle of the Attack Detection Algorithms: Disclosing cyber attacks on water distribution networks

Riccardo Taormina, Stefano Galelli, Nils Ole Tippenhauer, Elad Salomons, Avi Ostfeld, Demetrios G. Eliades, Mohsen Aghashahi, Raanju Sundararajan, Mohsen Pourahmadi, M. Katherine Banks, B. M. Brentan, Enrique Campbell, G. Lima, D. Manzi, D. Ayala-Cabrera, M. Herrera, I. Montalvo, J. Izquierdo, E. Luvizotto, Sarin E. ChandyAmin Rasekh, Zachary A. Barker, Bruce Campbell, M. Ehsan Shafiee, Marcio Giacomoni, Nikolaos Gatsis, Ahmad Taha, Ahmed A. Abokifa, Kelsey Haddad, Cynthia S. Lo, Pratim Biswas, M. Fayzul, Bijay Kc, Saravanakumar Lakshmanan Somasundaram, Mashor Housh, Ziv Ohar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


The BATtle of the Attack Detection ALgorithms (BATADAL) is the most recent competition on planning and management of water networks undertaken within the Water Distribution Systems Analysis Symposium. The goal of the battle was to compare the performance of algorithms for the detection of cyber-physical attacks, whose frequency has increased in the last few years along with the adoption of smart water technologies. The design challenge was set for the C-Town network, a real-world, medium-sized water distribution system operated through programmable logic controllers and a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. Participants were provided with data sets containing (simulated) SCADA observations, and challenged to design an attack detection algorithm. The effectiveness of all submitted algorithms was evaluated in terms of time-to-detection and classification accuracy. Seven teams participated in the battle and proposed a variety of successful approaches leveraging data analysis, model-based detection mechanisms, and rule checking. Results were presented at the Water Distribution Systems Analysis Symposium (World Environmental and Water Resources Congress) in Sacramento, California on May 21-25, 2017. This paper summarizes the BATADAL problem, proposed algorithms, results, and future research directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04018048
JournalJournal of Water Resources Planning and Management
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Attack detection
  • Cyber security
  • Cyber-physical attacks
  • Smart water networks
  • Water distribution systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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