Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Computer Engineering and Computer Science

Committee Chair

Hieb, Jeff

Author's Keywords

SCADA; RTU; Simulation; HMI; Water sector


Supervisory control systems--Security measures; Automatic data collection systems--Security measures; Drinking water--Security measures; Computer networks--Security measures


Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems are used by many critical infrastructures including electric power production and distribution, water and waste water treatment, rail transportation, and gas and oil distribution. Originally isolated proprietary systems, SCADA systems are increasingly connected to enterprise networks and the Internet and today use commercial hardware and software. As a result SCADA systems now face serious cyber-security threats. The need for testing and evaluation of developed cyber-security solutions presents a challenge since evaluation on actual systems is usually not possible and building complete physical testbeds is costly. This thesis presents the design and development of a water systems simulation for testing and evaluation of cyber-security enhanced field devices. The simulation consists of two main parts: a human machine interface/master terminal unit (HMI/MTU) component and a water treatment and distribution component. The HMI/MTU part supports new security protocols used to communicate with the hardened remote terminal unit (RTU). The water system simulates a water treatment and distribution center. A data acquisition (DAQ) module was used in conjunction with LabVIEWTM to create a water distribution and treatment simulation that could be interfaced with an actual field device. Field device I/Os are wired to the DAQ which then interface with the LabVIEWTM simulation. The simulation supports: selectable polling of I/O, graphical representation of I/O, random water usage, constant water usage, and simulation data collection. The simulation uses a modular design pattern so that it can be easily extended in the future. Initial testing with a hardened RTU prototype confirmed the ability of the simulation to interact with real hardware and identified some minor errors in the prototype’s security protocol implementation. With additional DAQ devices the simulation could be extended to simulate larger water systems.