Keeping water and energy secure



Contributed date

June 12, 2020 - 5:06am

Critical Commentary

How protected are our water and energy systems? This article focuses on the research of Professor Javad Khazaei, an electrical engineering professor at some Penn State universities. Professor Khazaei is currently working on a project “investigating the vulnerability of water and energy infrastructure systems and developing detection methodologies to counteract such criminal acts.” What most consumers don’t realize is that most of our systems are controlled remotely and that makes them more susceptible to attack which could cause major consequences. “If hackers gain access to these advanced metering infrastructures and inject false data readings, they can cause failures without detection.” Trying to correct the problems that have been caused by these attacks could be very difficult. WHen hackers perform these cyberattacks, they become privy to information about the infrastructure, which they can use to plan more intense attacks later and changing the infrastructure isn’t always an option. We have seen cyberattacks like this before, like in Ukraine in 2015, when Russian hackers shut down 30 substations and caused a blackout for 230,000 people. The professor and his team are currently working to create simulations of what attacks may look like so they can find the vulnerabilities. “For example, a few measurements in an energy network can be tampered with false data to cause an overflow in multiple transmission lines, which could result in a blackout. Or, if a water tank is empty, we can change the reading to appear like a full tank, which changes the waterflow and pumps — causing damage downstream in the water distribution network.” The team is working on a model that could detect bad data in order to protect our infrastructures. Cybersecurity is barely monitored right now when it comes to our water and energy systems so this research will provide critical information needed to make reforms and protect our infrastructure.


Chuprinski, M., Khazaei, I., & Penn State College of Engineering. (2020, June 04). Keeping water and energy secure. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from

Group Audience

  • - Private group -

Cite as

Mariah Chuprinski, "Keeping water and energy secure", contributed by Quentin Gipson, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 12 June 2020, accessed 29 November 2022.