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 articleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


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
Article number03120003
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering (United States)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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    Hassanzadeh, A., Rasekh, A., Galelli, S., Aghashahi, M., Taormina, R., Ostfeld, A., & Banks, M. K. (2020). A Review of Cybersecurity Incidents in the Water Sector. Journal of Environmental Engineering (United States), 146(5), 1-13. [03120003]. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)EE.1943-7870.0001686