Securing Cyber-Physical and IoT Systems in Smart Living Environments

Date: July 10, 12 PM – 1 PM AEST

Recording: Recording

Slides: CSIRO-Data61-Australia Seminar – Sajal Das

Title: Securing Cyber-Physical and IoT Systems in Smart Living Environments

Guest speaker: Professor Sajal K. Das

Dr. Sajal K. Das, whose academic genealogy includes Thomas Alva Edison, is a professor of Computer Science and the Daniel St. Clair Endowed Chair at Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he was the Chair of Computer Science during 2013-2017. Prior to 2013, he was a University Distinguished Scholar Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, and founding director of the Center for Research in Wireless Mobility and Networking at the University of Texas at Arlington. During 2008-2011, Dr. Das served the National Science Foundation as a Program Director in the Computer and Network Systems Division. His research interests include wireless sensor networks, mobile and pervasive computing, smart environments (smart city, smart grid, smart healthcare), cyber-physical systems; IoT, crowdsensing, cloud computing, security and trustworthiness, social and biological networks, and applied graph theory and game theory. He has contributed significantly to these areas, having published 300+ research articles in high quality journals and 400+ papers in peer-reviewed conferences, and 52 book chapters. A holder of 5 US patents, Dr. Das has directed numerous funded projects totalling over $16 million and co-authored four books – Smart Environments: Technology, Protocols, and Applications (John Wiley, 2005); Handbook on Securing Cyber-Physical Critical Infrastructure: Foundations and Challenges (Morgan Kaufman, 2012); Mobile Agents in Distributed Computing and Networking (Wiley, 2012); and Principles of Cyber-Physical Systems: An Interdisciplinary Approach (Cambridge University Press, 2020). According to DBLP, Dr. Das is one of the most prolific authors in computer science. His h-index is 86 with 33,000+ citations according to Google Scholar. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s Pervasive and Mobile Computing journal, and serves as an Associate Editor of several journals including the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing, and ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks. A founder of IEEE PerCom, WoWMoM, SMARTCOMP and ICDCN conferences, Dr. Das served as General and Program Chair of numerous conferences. He is a recipient of 10 Best Paper Awards in prestigious conferences, and numerous awards for teaching, mentoring and research including IEEE Computer Society’s Technical Achievement award for pioneering contributions to sensor networks and mobile computing, and University of Missouri System President’s Award for Sustained Career Excellence. He graduated 43 PhD, 32 MS thesis students, and 9 postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Das is an IEEE Fellow.


Our daily lives are becoming increasingly dependent on a variety of smart cyber-physical infrastructures, such as smart cities and buildings, smart energy grid, smart transportation, smart healthcare, etc. Alongside, smartphones and sensor-based IoTs are empowering humans with fine-grained information and opinion collection through crowdsensing about events of interest, resulting in actionable inferences and decisions. This synergy has led to the cyber-physical-social (CPS) convergence with human in the loop, the goal of which is to improve the “quality” of life. However, CPS and IoT systems are extremely vulnerable to failures, attacks and security threats. This talk will highlight unique research challenges in securing such systems, followed by novel defense mechanisms. Our proposed frameworks and solutions are based on a rich set of theoretical and practical design principles, such as secure data fusion, uncertainty reasoning, information theory, prospect theory, reputation scoring, and belief and trust models. Two case studies will be considered: (1) Security forensics and lightweight statistical anomaly detection in the smart grid CPS to defend against organized and persistent adversaries that can launch data falsification attacks on the smart meters using stealthy strategies. The novelty of our approach lies in a newly defined information-theoretic metric that helps quantify robustness and security, thus minimizing the attacker’s impact on the customers and utilities with low false alarm rates; (2) Secure and trustworthy decision making in mobile crowd sensing to detect false (or spam) contributions due to selfish and malicious behavior of users. Based on the cumulative prospect theory and reputation/trust model, our approach prevents revenue loss owing to undue incentives and improves the operational reliability and decision accuracy. The talk will be concluded with directions for future research.