High Assurance Control of Cyber-Physical Systems with Application to Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Cheolhyeon Kwon, Purdue University


With recent progress in the networked embedded control technology, cyber attacks have become one of the major threats to Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs) due to their close integration of physical processes, computational resources, and communication capabilities. While CPSs have various applications in both military and civilian uses, their on-board automation and communication afford significant advantages over a system without such abilities, but these benefits come at the cost of possible vulnerability to cyber attacks. Traditionally, most cyber security studies in CPSs are mainly based on the computer security perspective, focusing on issues such as the trustworthiness of data flow, without rigorously considering the system’s physical processes such as real-time dynamic behaviors. While computer security components are key elements in the hardware/software layer, these methods alone are not sufficient for diagnosing the healthiness of the CPSs’ physical behavior. In seeking to address this problem, this research work proposes a control theoretic perspective approach which can accurately represent the interactions between the physical behavior and the logical behavior (computing resources) of the CPS. Then a controls domain aspect is explored extending beyond just the logical process of the CPS to include the underlying physical behavior. This approach will allow the CPS whose physical operations are robust/resilient to the damage caused by cyber attacks, successfully complementing the existing CPS security architecture. It is important to note that traditional fault-tolerant/robust control methods could not be directly applicable to achieve resiliency against malicious cyber attacks which can be designed sophisticatedly to spoof the security/safety monitoring system (note this is different from common faults). Thus, security issues at this layer require different risk management to detect cyber attacks and mitigate their impact within the context of a unified physical and logical process model of the CPS. Specifically, three main tasks are discussed in this presentation: (i) we first investigate diverse granularity of the interactions inside the CPS and propose feasible cyber attack models to characterize the compromised behavior of the CPS with various measures, from its severity to detectability; (ii) based on this risk information, our approach to securing the CPS addresses both monitoring of and high assurance control design against cyber attacks by developing on-line safety assessment and mitigation algorithms; and (iii) by extending the developed theories and methods from a single CPS to multiple CPSs, we examine the security and safety of multi-CPS network that are strongly dependent on the network topology, cooperation protocols between individual CPSs, etc. The effectiveness of the analytical findings is demonstrated and validated with illustrative examples, especially unmanned aircraft system (UAS) applications.




Hwang, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Engineering|Aerospace engineering

Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server