Written by 6:18 pm AI Security, Uncategorized

– Inauguration of World’s First Fully Automated AI Cyberbiosecurity Liquid Test by Virginia Tech

In response to the ongoing threats to the world’s water utilities, Virginia Tech opened the AI and …

A fluid therapy center in Oldsmar, Florida, fell victim to an undisclosed adversary in 2021.

The cyberattack targeted the device responsible for monitoring sodium chloride levels in the water. The perpetrator sought to manipulate the sodium hydroxide content in the water system swiftly, escalating the concentration from 100 parts per million to a hazardous 11,100 parts per million. Such elevated levels of sodium hydroxide can be lethal and cause severe damage to human tissue upon contact.

Fortunately, the treatment facility detected the breach in time and halted the distribution of the toxic liquid to the residents of Oldsmar.

The question lingers as to why Oldsmar, a small community with around 15,000 inhabitants—roughly one-third of Blacksburg’s population—was targeted in this incident.

This enigma remains unsolved.

Nonetheless, it is evident that such threats are not confined to specific locations or times; they can manifest anywhere and at any moment.

In response to the persistent challenges facing global water resources, Virginia Tech has inaugurated the AI and Cyber for Water and Ag (ACWA) lab, a pioneering initiative worldwide that integrates cyberbiosecurity and artificial intelligence technologies to address water security issues.

The ACWA lab, situated in the Human and Agricultural Biosciences Building on the Blacksburg campus, is spearheaded by a team of AI experts specializing in water and agricultural systems. The research ensemble, led by Feras A. Batarseh, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, comprises doctoral candidates Ajay Kulkarni, Siam Maksud, Chhayly Sreng, Justice Lin, and Reilly Oare. Apart from their involvement in the ACWA project, Batarseh and his team are affiliated with the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI), Virginia’s central hub for cybersecurity research, innovation, and workforce development.

Equipped with an array of infrastructure including sensors, pumps, tanks, valves, databases, and AI models, the lab aims to leverage advanced AI and data-driven methodologies to tackle critical issues in the water and agricultural domains. These challenges encompass cyberbiosecurity, resource management, water accessibility, ecological concerns, and data-informed decision-making.

Batarseh elucidates that the ACWA lab’s primary objective is to establish a testing ground for American water supply, distribution, and treatment systems to preempt and mitigate potential cyber threats. By amalgamating computational elements with water quality and quantity parameters such as flow rates, pH levels, ammonia concentrations, and other relevant factors, the facility generates unique datasets essential for enhancing water system resilience and security.

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Last modified: February 8, 2024
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