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Infrastructure Threat Contest Winning Submissions

Thank you to everyone who submitted a story to our Infrastructure Threat Writing Contest. We received submissions from across the world. The CAPTRS team and our panel of judges were impressed with the creativity, research and time that went into the submissions we received. All submissions will assist us in building our CAPTRS Universe of Threats – to address our collective failure of imagination in preparing for future threats. These scenarios will be used to create varied and diverse simulation games to prepare for potential future threats.

Contest Winners were:

  • Grand Prize – Jacob Ashton
  • Runners Up – Callum Davies, Dave Dahl
  • Third Prize – John Meyers, Ricky Shaw, Olivia Ramsay, S.A. Thurtle, Florience Liu, Tumelo Mafoso
  • Honorable Mentions – Layla Gholston, William Propsner, Betty Rakotondrabe, Samuel John & Ishida Das

We are pleased to publish our top winning submissions below.

Grand Prize Winner: Something in the Water by Jacob Ashton

Threat Overview: A once-in-a-lifetime heatwave hits the UK and Western Europe. In England, infrastructure suffers across the board, but particularly within the water sector. Increased demand and high rates of evaporation lead to a declaration of severe drought. Reservoirs and groundwater reserves begin to run dry, especially in the southeast. Limits are established on water use for civilians and for agriculture. Water suppliers work overtime to keep the nation supplied with clean water. Some days prior, a cybercriminal organisation used an AI-assisted phishing attack to access the physical security systems of the water storage site. By disabling these systems, they were able to access the site undetected and contaminate the tanks with high levels of the industrial pesticide Epsilox.

Read Full Ground Truth for Something in the Water

Read Full Something in the Water story

Runner-Up: Dave Dahl and Callum Davies

 

The Unseen by Dave Dahl

Threat Overview: Hundreds of fires are set at once by a freedom militia. In the next phase, explosives are used on electrical hubs that are still operational, shutting down power for most of the country. With law enforcement vulnerable, the attacks continue with poisoning of food and water supplies and explosives in the fuel depots, dams, airports, nuclear reactors and power stations. Few people are prepared to live without cell phones and internet, much less without electricity. Unable to buy food or gas, the public’s panic reaches fever pitch as the crisis worsens with nationwide power outages, continued fires and explosions, reports of food contamination, and rumors of every sort.

Read full Unseen Ground Truth

Read full story for the Unseen

Coordinated Cyber Attacks by Callum Davies

Threat Overview: A new radical group of eco-activists coordinate a three-pronged custom cyber-attack consisting of 1) ransomware against Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) digital assets in the transportation and energy sectors, 2) mass spearphishing disinformation campaign against electricity customers to simultaneously increase electricity usage and surge the Eastern Interconnection electricity grid leading to blackouts, and 3) a Telephony Denial of Service (TDoS) attack against emergency services to cause havoc after the blackouts and initial disruption. Despite Christmas Day being one of the most electricity-intensive days in the calendar, the syndicate opted to act in summer to coincide with increased temperatures and exploit the high demand air cooling systems put on the grid.

Read full Ground Truth for Coordinated Cyber Attacks

Read full story for Coordinated Cyber Attacks

Third Place Award – John Meyers, Ricky Shaw, Olivia Ramsay, S.A. Thurtle, Florience Liu, Tumelo Mafoso

 

Blackout Revolution by John Meyers

Threat Overview: The hacking group OCR (Original Constitution Republic) has attacked the electrical grid in California and Texas, causing widespread regional outages. They also attacked a couple of regional banks and destroyed the IT assets of the banks. They used social media to create panic and fuel protests of the American people. They also encouraged local militias to restore law and order in America because the current government is not capable. OCR uses Social Media disinformation to sway public opinion in their favor. Their hacking skills and disinformation campaign skills suggest foreign government support.

Read full Ground Truth for Blackout Revolution

Read full story for Blackout Revolution

Linchpin by Ricky Shaw

Threat Overview: A disillusioned veteran masterminds a plot to cripple the US. He accomplishes this by sending out a false Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) to hundreds of millions of Americans during the Super Bowl, claiming that the water supply has been contaminated and that their odds of exposure are likely — that they need to go to the hospital immediately for treatment. He adds that the government has lied to the public in an attempt to cover it up, therefore furthering confusion and making it more difficult to resolve. 911 calls start to overwhelm the cell towers and dispatch centers, and things quickly spiral out of control.

Read full Ground Truth for Linchpin

Read full story for Linchpin

Attack on America’s Nuclear Power Plants by Olivia Ramsay

Threat Overview: A series of attacks has been conducted on three of the largest nuclear power stations in the United States by a rogue group of Anti-American Terror Group using bombs smuggled inside the plants. This incident has national and international ramifications, people across America are being told to stay indoors to avoid any possible radiation contact. This has resulted in many businesses and companies shutting down for public health concerns. The American economy grinding to a halt has thrust people into financial strain as they are no longer able to provide for their families. This has resulted in looting and riots in cities.

Read full Ground Truth for Attack on America’s Power Plants

Read full story for Attack on America’s Power Plants

The Last Deadline by S.A. Thurtle

Threat Overview: The International Consensus Solar Activity Model (ICSAM) has predicted a catastrophic solar event that will be a threat to all electrical equipment. The period of solar activity running up to the late 2025 peak has been an especially intensive and unpredictable one. Whilst long-term models remain broadly accurate, short-term predictions from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been worryingly inaccurate.

Read full Ground Truth for The Last Deadline

Read full story for The Last Deadline

Storm of a Century by Florence Liu

Threat Overview: Hailed as the “Storm of a Century”, a geomagnetic storm has not only caused spectacular auroras but blackouts, telecommunication failures, aviation disruptions, and GPS navigation errors across the world. In the United States, strong electromagnetic pulses have damaged communication satellites and collapsed power grids in regions in the Midwest, such as North Dakota and Wisconsin. Many citizens, particularly in rural areas, find themselves in the dark – no power, no information. Some cannot access running water as urban water supplies largely rely on electrical pumps.

Read full Ground Truth for Storm of a Century

Read full story for Storm of a Century

Espejo Azul by Tumelo Mafoso

Threat Overview: Compromised structural integrity has caused the catastrophic collapse of the dam, and the release of the water held in the dam’s reservoir. As a result, a massive flood event has been triggered; threatening essential infrastructure, lives and property downstream. Simultaneously, the failure has caused disruption to the water supply required for cooling reactors at the GeEnergy Nuclear Facility; flooding the facility and leading to a nuclear meltdown. Radioactive materials may be released and flash flooding is also ensuing.

Read full Ground Truth for Espejo Azul

Read full story for Espejo Azul