The Water Information Summit XVI (WIS-16) will focus on Cybersecurity for Water Security. This event is co-organized by the Water Web Consortium (WWCo), the UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security in the Institute of Environment at Florida International University (FIU, USA), the Escuela Politecnica del Litoral (ESPOL, Ecuador), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the UNESCO Hydrological Intergovernmental Program (UNESCO-IHP).
The Summit will take place December 8-9, 2021 through a virtual setting. |
The number of cyberattacks has increased in the past years, in particular since early 2020 with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the fact that the majority of the attacks have been directed to financial institutions, service provider entities, such as water utilities and other water-related institutions, are being targeted with increasing frequency.
In this context, it is important for the water sector to understand the vulnerabilities of its information and communication systems and the need to incorporate cybersecurity measures in their strategic and operational planning.
Recent cybersecurity breaches have demonstrated that unauthorized incursions into the water sector’s computerized systems can affect not just their information and data banks, but also their operational processes, equipment, and infrastructure. Therefore, there is an urgent need to address the issue of how do cyberattacks affect water security. Since its inception, the UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security at the Institute of the Environment in FIU, together with its partners, such as the Water Web Consortium (WWCo), The UNESCO Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHP), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral (ESPOL), and others, has been looking into the present and potential future impacts of cybersecurity breaches in the sector. The study of various cyberattacks aimed at the water sector are showing that these incidents can influence water security at different levels.
The presentations and discussions at the upcoming Water Information Summit XVI (WIS-16) aim to answer the question is “Cybersecurity, an Integral Part of Water Security?” At the event, the present situation and trends of cybersecurity threats to the water sector will be addressed. Testimonials will be provided by the speakers and panelists illustrating observed scenarios, at the local, national, and international levels.
To further expand the discussions, the following themes will be addressed:
- Cybersecurity Policies and Legislation in the Water Sector: The existing cybersecurity policies and regulations at the national level for various countries will be presented. Similarly, panelists will discuss policies and protocols adopted by different institutions (private and public) in the Americas.
- Water Information Systems: Data Quality and Security: Schemes to counteract unlawful intrusions into data and information depositories by hackers will be presented. The speakers will look into the importance of maintaining the quality of data and information, in particular to provide online services, such as early flood warnings or climate/weather variations.
- Monitoring and Expanding Diverse Participation in Cybersecurity in the Water Sector: Despite the progress made by the incursion of women and minorities in most professional’s sectors, the area of cybersecurity will benefit from expanding its base of professional base at the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and water sector levels. Today, in the cybersecurity sector less than 25% of its professionals are women, which is a much lower statistic than what exists for the overall ICT sector.
- Water Security in the Era of Covid-19, providing Secure Information Systems: With the advent of the CoVID-19 pandemic, ICT systems have been more easily targeted by hackers due to the lack of adequate cybersecurity means (software and hardware) available to the majority of those transitioned to working from their homes. In view that many enterprises and government institutions still have part of their workforce operating from their houses, cybersecurity systems need to continue to be upgraded. Issues related to cybersecurity threats and innovative tools available or under development for the water sector.
- Educational Profile of the Water Professionals of the Future: One of the major issues that has been identified is the need to increase capacity-building opportunities related to cybersecurity. Speakers from various universities and organizations will inform on how their respective institutions are developing new formal academic curricula and structuring professional development programs to fill this capacity void.
- Integrating Cybersecurity to Water Security: To attain or sustain Water Security, consideration is being given to guarantee adequate amounts of water of acceptable quality, which allows the sustained development and promotion of both human and ecosystem health. To attain this goal, water resources need be safe-guarded, and the water sector is required to operate safely and counteract cybersecurity attacks. Speakers will discuss how to incorporate cybersecurity into water security strategic and operational planning efforts.
A select group of international speakers will be making presentations on each of the above themes, followed by a discussion with recognized experts in the various topics. Participants will have the opportunity to contribute questions to the speakers and panelists. The event will have available English to Spanish and Spanish to English translation.
The general program agenda can be found below or you can download the full event agenda.
English-Spanish translations are sponsored by:
Interpreter: Ms. Camila Parra
The thematic agenda below is a general overview of the webinar programming. Please continue to check the webpage for any possible updates to the agenda.
Moderator: Maria del Pilar Cornejo de Grunauer, Director CIP-RRD, ESPOL,
Welcoming Remarks: Basil Fernandez – WWCo President, Jamaica
History of the WWCo: Mantha Mehallis – WIS Founder, USA
Objectives of WIS 16: Todd Crowl – Advisory Board of the UNESCO Chair on
Sustainable Water Security and Director of the Institute of Environment at FIU, USA
Opening Statements by International WIS-16 Partner Organizers:
Andres Sanchez, Sustainable Development Specialist, Organization of
American States (OAS)
Miguel Doria, Regional Hydrologist for Latin America and the Caribbean,
Moderator: Maria C. Donoso, WIS-16 Organizing Committee Chair, USA
KEYNOTE 1: Cybersecurity, an Integral Part of Water Security?
Cristian Torres Bermeo, Director General, National Service for Risk and
Emergency Management, Ecuador
KEYNOTE 2: Present Situation and Trends
Alan Wiser, Chief Information Security Officer, US Geological Service, USA
Rapporteur:Francisco Pena, Associate Researcher Florida International
University and University of Perugia
10:30-10:45 BREAK (short video)
SESSION 1: Cybersecurity Policies/Legislation in the Water Sector
Speaker: Kenneth Pugh, Senator, Republic of Chile
Moderator: Cristina Rodriguez-Acosta, Jack Gordon Institute for Public
Policy, SIPA, FIU, USA
Panelists: - Akintunde Owosina, Chief, Hydrology & Hydraulics Bureau,
South Florida Water Management District, USA
- Ariel Nowersztern, Cybersecurity specialist , Inter-American
Development Bank, USA
- Alejandra Pineda Villegas, CEO Business Technology &
Consulting, member of WOMCY-LATAM, Mexico
Rapporteur: Valeria Perez, Water Management and Public Administration
Professional, Member of the Board of FUNSINCOPA
SESSION 2: Water Information Systems: Data Quality and Security
Speaker: Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of Homeland Security, CoFounder & Executive Chairman, The Chertoff Group, USA
Moderator: Nick Aumen, Regional Science Advisor for the Southeast
Region of the US Geological Survey, USA
Panelists: - Adrian Cashman, CEO, AKWATIX: Water Resources
- Felipe Cisneros, Director of the Program for Water and Soil,
University of Cuenca, Ecuador
- Patricia Aquing, Caribbean Water and Environmental
Specialist, Trinidad and Tobago
Rapporteur: Amartya Saha, Ecohydrologist and Instrumentation Specialist,
Achbold Biological Station, USA
Parris Lyew-Ayee Jr., Mona Geo-Informatics Institute, University of West
Day 2 DECEMBER 9, 2021
SESSION 3: Monitoring and Expanding Diverse Participation in
Cybersecurity in the Water Sector
Speaker: Gema Landaverde, Red Team and Threat Intelligence Senior
Manager – FICO, Representative of WOMCY- LATAM, Mexico
Moderator: Suzanna Rose, Founding Associate Provost, Office to Advance
Women, Equity & Diversity FIU, USA
Panelists: - Fernando Nardi, Director WARREDOC, Università per Stranieri
di Perugia, Italy
- Kay Goss, Former FEMA Associate Director, University of
Nevada at Las Vegas & Metropolitan College of New York, USA
- Silvia Rafaelli, Instituto Nacional del Agua, Subgerencia Centro
Regional Litoral, Argentina
Rapporteur: Maria F. Pulido, Associate Researcher, UNESCO Chair on
Sustainable Water Security, Colombia
SESSION 4: Water Security in the Era of Covid-19: Providing Secure
Speaker: Fernando Mendez, Associate Professor, Universidad de
Moderator: Zelmira May, Program Specialist for Education, Regional
Office of Sciences for Latin America and the Caribbean,
Panelists: - Glaister Cunningham, Vice President, Investment and
Performance Monitoring, National Water Commission, Jamaica
- Roberto Parra Saldivar, Profesor Investigador, Centro de
Biotecnología – FEMSA, Tecnologico de Monterrey. México
- Himanshu Upadhyay, Principal Scientist in Cybersecurity and
Artificial Intelligence, Applied Research Center, FIU, USA
Rapporteur: Serena Hoermann - Assistant Director, Center for Urban and
Environmental Solutions (CUES), FAU
SESSION 5 : Educational Profile of the Water Professionals of the Future
Speaker: - Fernando González Villarreal, Regional Center on Water
Security under the auspices of UNESCO, Mexico
Moderator: Adrian Cashman CEO, AKWATIX: Water Resources
Panelists: - Luis Dominguez Granda, Director of the Water and Sustainable
Development Center, ESPOL, Ecuador
- Alex Crowther, Department of Criminal Justice, Gordon
Institute, FIU, USA
- Carlos Leonardo, Director Nacional de Respuesta a Incidentes
Cibernéticos (CSIRT-RD). Centro Nacional de Ciberseguridad,
Rapporteur: Soledad Benitez, Programme Associate UNESCO IHP-LAC,
CLOSING SESSION: Integrating Cybersecurity to Water Security
Speaker: Alfonso Gutierrez, Regional Coordinator for the UNESCO
International Flood Initiative, Mexico
Moderator: Max Campos, Former Water Senior Specialist and Division
Chief on Integrated Water Resources Management,
Organization of American States (OAS), Costa Rica
Panelists: - Roberto Olivares, President of the Latin America Network of
Water Basin Organisms (LANBO), Mexico
- Leonardo Alfonso, Associate Professor, IHE Delft, The
Rapporteur: Gabriela Castrellon – Researcher, Universidad Tecnologica de
Panama – CIHH, Panama
Summary of event: Leonard Berry Emeritus Professor of
Geosciences, Florida Atlantic University, USA
Path forward: Maria Concepcion Donoso, WIS-16 Organizing
Committee Chair, Panama
Closing Remarks: Basil Fernandez, President, Water Web Consortium,
* Please note that all times are in the Eastern Time (US) time zone.