Cybersecurity and Digitalization

July 28, 2021
Market Trends and Asset Strategies
Spillway gates are an obvious target for hackers motivated to attack infrastructure. Hackers have partially disabled the Ukraine power grid and also caused problems in the USA power system.' 'Any remotely controlled gated spillway is at risk from a hacking attack. They can cause a major disaster either by stopping the gate opening during a flood and thus causing the dam to overtop and possibly fail catastrophically or by opening all the gates on a sunny day and causing a 1000+ year downstream flood.' The risk from hacking into nuclear power station control systems is well recognised and de-fended against by providing multiple layers of safety that make it extremely difficult to cause catastrophic failure. Hydropower stations need the same level of defence because of the cata-strophic consequences of a dam failure a major downstream flood.' The paper will discuss options for reducing the risk from hacking. Quite obviously the risk is eliminated if the spillway gates open automatically without the need for a power supply or ex-ternal control signal. The paper will give examples of gate designs that achieve this objective. The next best option is to ensure that there is an emergency spillway. For new or existing re-mote controlled gates it will recommend the installation of a carefully isolated control system that will monitor water levels and gate positions and ensure that the gates open if the water level is dangerously high and stop a dangerous number of gates being opened when water levels are normal.