Uppsala University Department of Information Technology


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Licentiatseminarium | Licentiate seminar
13 October
Anh Tung Nguyen: Security Allocation in Networked Control Systems
Location: ÅNG 100155, Time: 10:00-12:00

External reviewer: Emma Tegling Supervisor: André Teixeira
Abstract: Sustained use of critical infrastructure, such as electrical power and water distribution networks, requires efficient management and control. Facilitated by the advancements in computational devices and non-proprietary communication technology, such as the Internet, the efficient operation of critical infrastructure relies on network decomposition into interconnected subsystems, thus forming networked control systems. However, the use of public and pervasive communication channels leaves these systems vulnerable to cyber attacks. Consequently, the critical infrastructure is put at risk of suffering operation disruption and even physical damage that would inflict financial costs as well as pose a hazard to human health. Therefore, security is crucial to the sustained efficient operation of critical infrastructure.

This thesis develops a framework for evaluating and improving the security of networked control systems in the face of cyber attacks. The considered security problem involves two strategic agents, namely a malicious adversary and a defender, pursuing their specific and conflicting goals. The defender aims to efficiently allocate defense resources with the purpose of detecting malicious activities. Meanwhile, the malicious adversary simultaneously conducts cyber attacks and remains stealthy to the defender. We tackle the security problem by proposing a game-theoretic framework and characterizing its main components: the payoff function, the action space, and the available information for each agent. Especially, the payoff function is characterized based on the output-to-output gain security metric that fully explores the worst-case attack impact. Then, we investigate the properties of the game and how to efficiently compute its equilibrium. Given the combinatorial nature of the defender's actions, one important challenge is to alleviate the computational burden. To overcome this challenge, the thesis contributes several system- and graph-theoretic conditions that enable the defender to shrink the action space, efficiently allocating the defense resources. The effectiveness of the proposed framework is validated through numerical examples.

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