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Last month, the paper, entitled “Disclosing Cyber Attacks on Water Distribution Systems. An Experimental Approach to the Sonification of Threats and Anomalous Data” co-authored by Paolo Ciuccarelli, Professor in Art + Design and Director of the Center for Design (CfD), was presented at ICAD 2019: the 25th International Conference on Auditory Display. The paper explores the use of data sonification to improve decision-making processes in the context of cybersecurity and has now been recognized with the “Best Use of Sound” Award. The research activity has been developed through the Master thesis of Ginevra Terenghi and the ongoing PhD in design of Sara Lenzi, both based at DensityDesign Lab – Politecnico di Milano – and supervised by prof. Paolo Ciuccarelli. The field experiments have been developed and coordinated with Riccardo Taormina and Stefano Galelli of Singapore University of Technology and Design.

The paper centers on the research team’s project, which aims to design a sonification system that could mitigate cyber-attacks on water distribution systems. According to the research team, water distribution systems are undergoing a process of intensive digitalization, which improves efficiency and reliability but makes these infrastructures increasingly exposed to cyber-attacks. Their proposed system allows human operators to make better decisions on anomalous behavior while remaining occupied in other (mainly visual) tasks. The paper itself illustrates the design process, experimental data collected, results, and plans for future steps.

With the theme of “Sonification for Everyday Life,” ICAD 2019 was the perfect venue for the authors to present their scientific paper. The conference, hosted by the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Northumbria University, explores how auditory display technologies and techniques may be used to enhance humans’ everyday lives, especially as digital technology and AI are becoming embedded in almost everything that we do.

Congratulations again to Professor Ciuccarelli, Sara Lenzi, Ginevra Terenghi, Riccardo Taormina, and Stefano Galelli; we look forward to seeing how the project continues to unfold.