On the role of latent design conditions in cyber-physical systems security

Frey, Sylvain and Rashid, Awais and Zanutto, Alberto and Busby, Jeremy Simon and Szmagalska-Follis, Karolina (2016) On the role of latent design conditions in cyber-physical systems security. In: SEsCPS '16 Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Software Engineering for Smart Cyber-Physical Systemss, SEsCPS 2015, Austin, Texas. ACM, New York, pp. 43-46. ISBN 9781450341714

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Abstract

As cyber-physical systems (CPS) become prevalent in everyday life, it is critical to understand the factors that may impact the security of such systems. In this paper, we present insights from an initial study of historical security incidents to analyse such factors for a particular class of CPS: industrial control systems (ICS). Our study challenges the usual tendency to blame human fallibility or resort to simple explanations for what are often complex issues that lead to a security incident. We highlight that (i) perception errors are key in such incidents (ii) latent design conditions -- e.g., improper specifications of a system's borders and capabilities -- play a fundamental role in shaping perceptions, leading to security issues. Such design-time considerations are particularly critical for ICS, the life-cycle of which is usually measured in decades. Based on this analysis, we discuss how key characteristics of future smart CPS in such industrial settings can pose further challenges with regards to tackling latent design flaws.

Item Type:
Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings
Additional Information:
© ACM, 2016. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in SEsCPS '16 Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Software Engineering for Smart Cyber-Physical Systems http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2897035.2897036
ID Code:
78458
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Deposited On:
01 Mar 2016 11:44
Refereed?:
Yes
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Published
Last Modified:
30 May 2020 23:48