Implicit Interactions Analysis: A Wastewater Treatment System Case Study

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 Critical infrastructures consist of numerous components, and even more interactions, many of which may not be expected or foreseen by the system designers. The existence of these so-called implicit interactions indicates design flaws that, if not mitigated, could result in losses of system stability, safety, and security. In this talk, we will discuss and apply a formal methods-based approach for identifying and analyzing implicit interactions in a real-world Wastewater Dechlorination System provided by a municipal wastewater treatment facility. We will present and discuss our experimental analysis results summarizing the identified implicit interactions and a calculation of their severity and exploitability, which helps to inform mitigation efforts at early stages of system design. We will also discuss the validation of our modeling and analysis through the presentation of the results of a stakeholder questionnaire which shows that the rigorous, practical approaches applied in this case study have the potential to improve overall security and resilience for critical infrastructure systems.


 Dr. Jason Jaskolka is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering and the Director of the Cyber Security Evaluation and Assurance (CyberSEA) Research Lab at Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada. He received his Ph.D. in Software Engineering in 2015 from McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Ontario. His research interests include cyber security evaluation and assurance, threat modeling, security-by-design, and formal methods and algebraic approaches for software and security engineering. He is interested in applying his research to critical infrastructures, industrial control systems, cyber-physical and distributed systems, and the Internet of Things (IoT).