SWaT: A Test bed for Secure Water Treatment (SWaT)

18 Mar 2015

Background: iTrust is a centre for research in cyber security set up by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). To enable experimentally validated research in the design of secure and safe cyber physical systems, iTrust is setting up a series of testbeds, with the SWaT testbed being the first. Other testbeds, currently in design, are related to smart grids, water storage and distribution systems, and the Internet of Things. These testbeds will enable researchers to investigate issues through experiments related to the design of secure Cyber Physical System (CPS).

Research: Researchers at SUTD are building models of SWaT. These models will be used to conduct experiments aimed at understanding the response of SWaT to a variety of cyber attacks as well as conditions of natural disasters. The focus is on secure communications through coding and CPS redesign, and on the design of a layered defense mechanism that ensures a safe and secure system when attackers are successful in entering the system through the network or internally. Experiments will lead to an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of existing defense mechanisms in SWaT that conform to current industry standards. This understanding will enable researchers to create novel designs, and assess their effectiveness through experiments, with the goal of defending a CPS against cyber and physical attacks as well as the effects of natural disasters.

About water treatment in Singapore: "Our water treatment plants are key national infrastructure. Physically, they are heavily guarded and secured against intrusion and attacks. Housed within are complex and highly automated systems. These must also be safeguarded from cyber-attacks. The research that will come out of this SWaT testbed will help make our plants even more resilient against sabotage, making our water system to be that much more secure," said Mr Peng Kah Poh, PUB's director of Information Systems.

Collaboration: iTrust is collaborating with CISCO, National Instruments, NEC, Starhub, as well as several Singapore Government agencies in research on secure CPS, with support from MINDEF and the National Research Foundation. PUB is a key partner in the design of SWaT, and researchers are working closely with PUB engineers in all stages of this research.

Figure 1: Overall Process layout of SWaT

Figure 2: Reverse Osmosis Membrane filtration in SWaT