A Decade of Research in CPS Security: An Unconsummated Union Between Control Theory and Information Security

Speaker Name: 
Alvaro Cardenas
Speaker Title: 
Assistant Professor
Speaker Organization: 
University of Texas
Start Time: 
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 11:30am
End Time: 
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 12:30pm
Martine Schlag and Dejan Milutinovic


Advances in embedded computers and networks that monitor and control physical systems are improving our productivity, sustainability, and well-being, but they also introduce security risks associated with information technology. To fully understand the risks of these technologies, and to develop resilient security and privacy mechanisms in cyber-physical systems, we need concepts from control as well as information security. In the last decade, the control community has proposed fundamental advances in Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) security; in parallel, the computer security community has also achieved significant advances in practical implementation aspects for CPS security and privacy. While both of these fields have made significant progress independently, there is still a large language and conceptual barrier between the two fields, and as a result, computer security experts have developed a parallel and independent research agenda from control theory researchers. In order to design future CPS security and privacy mechanisms, the two communities need to come closer together and leverage the insights that each has developed. In this talk I will discuss our efforts to facilitate the integration of these two communities by leveraging the physical properties of the system under control for designing novel security and privacy algorithms, tools, and metrics for CPS. I will also discuss our ongoing research on the tradeoffs between security and privacy in cyber-physical systems, and conclude the talk with practical examples of the new threat vectors and vulnerabilities in Internet of Things devices.



Alvaro A. Cardenas is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Dallas. He holds M.S. (2002) and Ph.D. (2006) degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. Before joining UT Dallas he was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, and a research staff at Fujitsu Laboratories of America in Sunnyvale California. He has also been an intern at INRIA-LORIA in France, and a SCADA intern at Occidental Petroleum Corporation.  His research interests focus on cyber-physical systems and IoT security and privacy. He is the recipient of the NSF CAREER award, best paper awards from the IEEE Smart Grid Communications Conference and the U.S. Army Research Conference, and a Fellowship from the University of Maryland.