Safety-critical Cyber-physical Attacks: Analysis, Detection, and Mitigation

Lin, H., Alemzadeh, H., Chen, D., Kalbarczyk, Z., Iyer, R.K.


Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security (HotSos '16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 82-89.


Today's cyber-physical systems (CPSs) can have very different characteristics in terms of control algorithms, configurations, underlying infrastructure, communication protocols, and real-time requirements. Despite these variations, they all face the threat of malicious attacks that exploit the vulnerabilities in the cyber domain as footholds to introduce safety violations in the physical processes. In this paper, we focus on a class of attacks that impact the physical processes without introducing anomalies in the cyber domain. We present the common challenges in detecting this type of attacks in the contexts of two very different CPSs (i.e., power grids and surgical robots). In addition, we present a general principle for detecting such cyber-physical attacks, which combine the knowledge of both cyber and physical domains to estimate the adverse consequences of malicious activities in a timely manner.

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