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Comprehensive Exam Presentation - Sean O'Toole

September 20, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm MDT

Industrial Control Systems Modeling in Water Systems from an Operational Technology and Cyber-Physical Perspective


As research into the securing of critical infrastructure has become increasingly relevant and necessary in recent years, much emphasis has been placed on the securing of cyber-physical systems (CPS) from the IT perspective. This is likely as a result of how much simpler it is to carry out and even automate this broad category of attacks against a wide variety of public and commercial targets. However, considerably less has been done with respect to the study and modeling of existing and planned Operational Technology (OT) systems, especially when it comes to creating usable tools for the purpose of testing and securing such systems. Industrial Control Systems (ICS) in particular have seen numerous attacks in recent years, but the existing research on the creation, testing, and application of tools focused on ICS security and resilience has been limited and constrained to very small aspects of the field’s capabilities and needs. Numerous questions remain to be answered about the field’s future, and past research from before the explosion of IoT and smart devices should be reevaluated within the context of those changes to identify whether past assumptions on security and safety remain accurate, as well as whether the models and frameworks themselves currently used today (or not used today) should be updated and promoted as ways to test modern systems and design more secure ones for the future. \\
This synthesis paper shall attempt to briefly summarize the field of ICS CPS security and resilience modeling and testing, with particular focus on the OT side of such research and providing examples of ongoing research and comparing methodologies, before providing the author’s analysis of potential research questions in the area, along with their ongoing work in the field.


Dr. Hoda Mehpouyan (Chair), Dr. Craig Reiger, Dr. Min Long, Dr. Gaby Dagher, Dr. Kendra Kaiser, Dr. Marion Scheepers (External Evaluator)