Team for Research in
Ubiquitous Secure Technology

Physical Infrastructures

This area addresses next generation Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and networked embedded systems that control critical physical infrastructures (e.g., power grid, natural gas and water distribution, transportation) and futuristic infrastructures such as "smart" buildings and structures (e.g., active-bridges whose structural integrity depends on dynamic control or actuators).

In physical infrastructures where the use new secure SCADA systems and systems build on emerging wireless networked embedded technologies, there are substantive issues of ownership and control of the physical infrastructure (whether it is individuals inside their homes or the grid utility provider). Security requirements are traditionally enumerated in terms of confidentiality, availability, and integrity. In this area, confidentiality is not a primary drive. Moreover, availability is often too weak--real-time constraints must be satisfied which changes the approach for defending against denial of service attacks. Ensuring integrity, however, is important as reliable operation of critical infrastructures needs to be ensured even in cases where an adversary controls a subset of the devices (which requires addressing threats such as the physical compromise of unattended nodes deployed in the field). Additionally, privacy issues arise in this area, such as understanding what can be inferred from the use and analysis of infrastructure information (e.g., increased power draw implies somebody is at home). Moreover, when distributed networks of sensors are widely deployed, opportunities for privacy abuse arise through abuse of information that is being collected for other reasons. Future infrastructures such as smart buildings and structures portend immense data collection in places routinely occupied by individuals. TRUST researchers are addressing such privacy concerns by considering them early on in the design and development of technical solutions and in advancing policy and consumer protection awareness and understanding that will support this future.