At ADSC, research in the area of Cyber-Physical System (CPS) Security started with our work on Smart Grid Security in 2011. This project brought together researchers from different areas to face fundamental security challenges in Smart Grids, and CPS in general. In recent years, Cyber-Physical Systems have emerged from traditional engineered systems in the areas of power and energy, automotive, healthcare, and aerospace. By introducing pervasive communication support in those systems, they have become more flexible, performant, and responsive. In general, these CPS are also mission-critical: their availability and correct operation is essential. Our research focuses on the security of such mission-critical CPS, in particular Smart Grids.
Pillars of CPS Security


Smart Grid Case Studies
A smart power grid is an example of a large cyber-physical system. In such systems, the presence of two-way communication and control capability between a system operator and distributed devices introduces complex and potentially serious security threats.

We adopt a holistic approach to understanding such threats on CPS: considering information flows, physical system characteristics, and human behavior. Our smart grid case studies have characterized the system stability risks posed by attacks on dynamic pricing, and identified novel countermeasures to improve resilience under remote meter disconnection attacks.

ADSC Living Lab

We have converted our ADSC office in Fusionopolis to be a living lab! In particular, we are using a variety of sensors to monitor the office space, people, appliances, and their energy consumptions. The data gathered are centrally analysed and processed, and are available for trending analysis and future planning purposes. In the process of setting up this living lab, we have developed enabling technologies to achieve more efficient and accurate electricity consumption monitoring, auditing, and learning. We are also investigating technologies that can make occupancy sensing more efficient and accurate.

living lab


Workflow-oriented Security Assessment Framework
In their quest to secure critical cyber-physical systems, asset owners are faced with a large and diverse set of information (network diagrams, device settings, known attacks, etc.). Our security assessment framework is designed to help stakeholders make full use of the information at their disposal with minimal modeling effort.

We use workflow models to unify heterogeneous information about system components, their properties, and possible attacks in a graphical manner to argue about security goals. This approach can provide quantitative security assessment for complex systems (such as cyber-physical systems) in an automated fashion.



Efficient Optimization of Defense Strategies with Markov Games
We use Markov Games to model the continual interactions between the defender and the adversary on various components of the smart grid system. However, complexity of using Markov games is very high when the number of states of the power system is large. We are using approximations to make the computation complexity manageable. We have developed the approximation algorithm, and our results of applying the algorithm on relatively-simple power systems are promising.
Fault-tolerant Communication Complexity
The security of a complex interconnected cyber-physical system like a smart grid critically depends on its capability to correctly and timely compute various functions with inputs held by distributed sensors, even when its communication system is under attacks. We characterize how much extra communication complexity would be required to tolerate attacks when computing functions over distributed inputs. Our strong lower bound results answer an open question about fault-tolerant protocol design.
The Advanced Digital Sciences Center research project, ReCognize: Reliable Cognitive Radio Networks for the Smart Grid, is working to create reliable, efficient, adaptable and low-cost method of communication between smart appliances and energy management systems. It is a functional block that helps provide smart grid security at the lowest communication layer by providing an enabling communication platform on which tomorrow’s smart grid can operate reliably.

The ReCognize project addresses four main challenges:
1. Reliable spectrum sensing;
2. Reliable coordination between secondary users;
3. Reliable location service; and
4. Reliable medium access control.


Synergy and Collaborations

In our research, we actively collaborate with other projects at ADSC and external partners to leverage synergies. We are collaborating with peer research institutes, industry partners, and universities in Singapore, including: A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), Accenture Pte Ltd, NUS, NTU (ERI@N, IntelliSys), and SUTD.