IoT Viilage, DefCon 26

Piping Botnet

Turning Green Technology

into a Water Disaster

Ben Nassi        Moshe Sror        Ido Lavi        Yair Meidan        Asaf Shabtai        Yuval Elovici


The current generation of IoT devices is being used by clients and consumers to regulate resources (such as water and electricity) obtained from critical infrastructure (such as urban water services and smart grids), creating a new attack vector against critical infrastructure. In this research we show that smart irrigation systems, a new type of green technology and IoT device aimed at saving water and money, can be used by attackers as a means of attacking urban water services. We present a distributed attack model that can be used by an attacker to attack urban water services using a botnet of commercial smart irrigation systems. Then, we show how a bot running on a compromised device in a LAN can:(1) detect a connected commercial smart irrigation system (RainMachine, BlueSpray, and GreenIQ) within 15 minutes by analyzing LAN's behavior using a dedicated classification model, and (2) launch watering via a commercial smart irrigation system according to an attacker's wishes using spoofing and replay attacks. In addition, we model the damage that can be caused by performing such an attack and show that a standard water tower can be emptied in an hour using a botnet of 1,355 sprinklers and a flood water reservoir can be emptied overnight using a botnet of 23,866 sprinklers. Finally, we discuss countermeasure methods and hypothesize whether the next generation of plumbers will use Kali Linux instead of a monkey wrench.


author = {Ben Nassi and Moshe Sror and Ido Lavi and Yair Meidan and Asaf Shabtai and Yuval Elovici},
title = {Piping Botnet - Turning Green Technology into a Water Disaster}, journal = {CoRR},
volume = {abs/1808.02131}, year = {2018},
url = {}, archivePrefix = {arXiv},
eprint = {1808.02131}, timestamp = {Sun, 02 Sep 2018 15:01:56 +0200},
biburl = {},
bibsource = {dblp computer science bibliography,} }



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What is smart irrigation system?​

Smart irrigation system is IoT actuator that controls and monitors watering.

What is piping botnet?

DDoS attack against urban water services via a large set of smart irrigation systems.

How secured are smart irrigation systems?

Most of the commercial smart irrigation systems are not secured. They can easily be controlled via a compromised device that is connected to their network using various.

What is the novelty behind piping botnet?

This is an in-direct attack against a critical infrastructure. 

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