Workshop on CPS security (IEEE CDC '22)

Cyber-security in control of CPS: Recent developments and open challenges

Recent events of cyber-attacks such as Ukraine power grid hack, Iranian nuclear plants (Stuxnet), German steel mills incident, around the world have demonstrated that cyber-attacks are inevitable. More advanced attacks such as transduction attacks have led to increased risk as more and more devices and systems have become vulnerable to such external threats.

Most common cyber tools used for CPS security focus on attack detection and prevention, utilizing tools such as encryption, privacy-preserving control, redundancy (in communication links, control blocks or sensors). Attack detection is a crucial aspect for security, and there has been a lot of development in development of effective attack-detection schemes, including comparing the expected behavior of the system with its actual behavior to flag an attack. On the other hand, a pure control-theoretic framework focuses on attack recovery for CPS security and takes a fault-tolerant control design approach or a robust control approach. A cyber-control-theory approach focuses on attack detection, mitigation as well as recovery of a CPS after attack and preserving crucial properties such as safety and preventing the system from failures. Some example of such tools include actuator constraining to limit how much an attacker can manipulate the system, using physics-based virtual sensors to assist feedback design under sensor-attacks, conservative, safe controller to be used at all times so that an attack is ineffective or a back-up controllers to be used when an attack is detected.

However, much work still needs to be done in the field of CPS security with provable guarantees. In particular, providing guarantees on attack-mitigation and recovery is largely an open problem. Some recent developments on the matter include privacy preserving control and using machine learning-based techniques to detect and respond to adversarial attacks. Moreover, the paradigm of internet-of-things and internet-of-everything has led to an unprecedented increment in attack-surfaces, and new attack use-cases or scenarios might emerge that are currently unknown. 

The main goal of the workshop is to highlight recent advances and developments in the role of control theory in solving security problems of cyber-physical systems (CPS) and discuss some of the important open problems in CPS security. This workshop aims to bring together experts from cyber-security and control theory to discuss how sensors, actuators, or communications links of CPS can be attacked, and how control-theoretic tools can help prevent, minimize, and enable recovery from such attacks. 

The expected outcome of the workshop is to strengthen the knowledge of the researchers from various backgrounds on the topic of CPS security, on how control-theoretic tools can be used beyond just motion planning, and to discuss some of the pressing issues in the field with the domain experts.

The target audience comprises graduate level control theorists, computer scientists and engineers, as well as researchers with a strong interest in CPS security and control, either from a theoretical or an application perspective. In particular, the main topics being covered are:

  • Characterization of cyber-attacks

  • Techniques for identification of system vulnerabilities

  • Attack-resilience methods and approaches

  • Methods for detecting and classifying attacks

  • Approaches for attack response and autonomous recovery 


(Confirmed) Invited speakers

  1. Dr. Andreea Alexandru

​           Postdoctoral associate, Department of Computer Science 

           University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742


           Tentative topic: Private anomaly detection in CPS using cryptographic tools

  1. Prof. Saurabh Amin

            Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

           Massachusetts Institute of Technology


           Tentative topic: TBA

  1. Dr. Kunal Garg

           Postdoctoral Scholar, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

           University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064


           Tentative topic: Provable security of CPS using control barrier functions

  1. Prof. Jairo Giraldo 

           Research Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering

           University of Utah,Salt Lake City, UT, 84112


           Tentative topic: Moving target defense for attack detection and impact mitigation in cyber-physical systems

  1. Prof. Miroslav Pajic

           Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Computer Science

           Duke University, Durham, NC, 27708


           Tentative topic: Security of Perception-based Control: Modeling and Fundamental Limits

  1. Prof. Radha Poovendran

           Professor, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

           University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195


           Tentative topic: TBA

  1. Prof. Carlos Rubio-Medrano

           Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

          Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, TX 78412


          Tentative topic: Attacking and Defending Programmable Logic Controllers: Opportunities and Challenges. 

  1. Prof. Henrik Sandberg

           Professor, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

           KTH Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden


           Tentative topic: Game-theoretic moving target defense in cyber-physical systems

  1. Prof. Bruno Sinopoli

           Professor, Electrical & Systems Engineering Department

           Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130


           Tentative topic: TBA

  1. Prof. Quanyan Zhu

           Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

           New York University, Brooklyn, NY 11201


           Tentative topic: TBA



  1. Dr. Kunal Garg

  2. Prof. Ricardo Sanfelice

           Professor, Electrical and Computer Science

           University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064


  1. Prof. Alvaro Cardenas 

           Associate Professor, Computer Science and Engineering

           University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064



Workshop (tentative) schedule


Initial Remarks

8:30 am to 8:40 am

Talk 1, 2, 3 (30 min each)

8:40 am to 10:10 am


10:10 am to 10:20 am

Talk 4, 5, 6 (30 min each)

10:20 am to 11:50 am

Q n A

11:50 am to 12:00 pm


12:00 pm to 1:00 pm

Talk 7, 8 (30 min each)

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm


2:00 pm to 2:10 pm

Talk 9, 10 (30 min each)

2:10 pm to 3:10 pm


3:10 pm to 3:20 pm

Panel discussion (60 min)

3:20 pm to 4:20 pm

Closing remarks

4:20 pm to 4:30 pm


Speakers bio

  1. Dr. Andreea Alexandru

    • Andreea Alexandru received her Ph.D. in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA, in 2021. She is currently a postdoctoral associate at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA. Her research interests include privacy-preserving strategies for data processing with applications in cyber-physical systems, multi-party computation and distributed cryptographic protocols. She is a member of the IEEE and ACM.

  2. Prof. Saurabh Amin

    • Saurabh Amin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is a PI in the Laboratory of Information and Decision Systems. He is also affiliated with the Operations Research Center, and the Center for Computational Science and Engineering at MIT. Since joining MIT in 2011, he has pursued research in the design of inspection and control algorithms for infrastructure systems. His work builds on foundations in control theory, game theory, and optimization in networks. His papers have addressed problems in resilient network control, information systems and incentive design, and optimal resource allocation in large-scale infrastructure systems. By focusing on the domains of highway transportation, electric power distribution, and urban water networks, he develops new theory and design tools for improving the performance of critical infrastructure systems in the face of disruptions, both stochastic and adversarial.

  3. Dr. Kunal Garg

    • Kunal completed his PhD from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2021, and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at University of California, Santa Cruz. His research interests include  Finite- and Fixed-time stability theory for safe and robust distributed control, Security of Cyber-physical systems, Distributed multi-agent control, Constrained control synthesis using optimization method. He is a member of the IEEE. 
  4. Prof. Jairo Giraldo 

    • Jairo Giraldo is a Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Associate Director for Education and Testbeds at the Utah Energy \& Power Innovation Center (U-EPIC) at the  University of Utah. Dr. Giraldo received his Ph.D. degree from the Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia, in 2015. From 2016 to 2019 he was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Texas at Dallas. His research interests include security and privacy of cyber-physical systems,  multi-agent systems, and resilient control for the smart grid. 

  5. Prof. Miroslav Pajic 

    • Miroslav Pajic is the Dickinson Family Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. His research interests focus on the design and analysis of high-assurance cyber-physical systems with varying levels of autonomy and human interaction, at the intersection of (more traditional) areas of embedded systems, AI, learning and controls, formal methods and robotics. He received various awards including the NSF CAREER Award, ONR Young Investigator Program  Award, ACM SIGBED Early-Career Researcher Award, IEEE TCCPS Early-Career Award, IBM Faculty Award, ACM SIGBED Frank Anger Memorial Award, the Joseph and Rosaline Wolf Dissertation Award from Penn Engineering, as well as seven Best Paper and Runner-up Awards, such as the Best Paper Awards at the 2017 ACM SIGBED International Conference on Embedded Software (EMSOFT) and 2014 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems (ICCPS), and the Best Student Paper award at the 2012 IEEE Real-Time and Embedded Technology and Applications Symposium (RTAS). He is an associate editor in the ACM Transactions on Cyber-Physical Systems and was a Chair of the 2019 ACM/IEEE ICCPS.

  6. Prof. Radha Poovendran

    • Radha Poovendran is Professor of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Washington. He is the founding director of the Network Security Lab and is a founding member and associate director of research for the UW's Center for Excellence in Information Assurance Research and Education. He has also been a member of the advisory boards for Information Security Education and Networking Education Outreach at UW. In collaboration with NSF, he served as the chair and principal investigator for a Visioning Workshop on Smart and Connected Communities Research and Education in 2016. Poovendran's research focuses on wireless and sensor network security, adversarial modeling, privacy and anonymity in public wireless networks and cyber-physical systems security. He co-authored a book titled Submodularity in Dynamics and Control of Networked Systems and co-edited a book titled Secure Localization and Time Synchronization in Wireless Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks. Poovendran is a Fellow of IEEE.

  7. Prof. Carlos Rubio-Medrano 

    • Carlos Rubio-Medrano is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. He received the PhD Degree in Computer Science from Arizona State University (ASU) in 2016. His research interests include Cybersecurity and Software Verification and Validation for emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Mobile Augmented Reality, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. In addition, he has also worked on the cybersecurity protection of Cyber Physical Systems for Energy Distribution, e.g., the power grid, the gas, and the oil industries. He is a member of the ACM.

  8. Prof. Henrik Sandberg 

    • Henrik Sandberg is Professor at the Division of Decision and Control Systems, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. He received the M.Sc. degree in engineering physics and the Ph.D. degree in automatic control from Lund University, Lund, Sweden, in 1999 and 2004, respectively. From 2005 to 2007, he was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA. In 2013, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) at MIT, Cambridge, USA. His current research interests include security of cyber-physical systems, power systems, model reduction, and fundamental limitations in control. He has served on the editorial boards of IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control and the IFAC Journal Automatica.

  9. Prof. Bruno Sinopoli 

    • Bruno Sinopoli is the Department Chair and Das Family Distinguished Professor in the Electrical & Systems Engineering Department at Washington University in St. Louis. He comes to Washington University from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and co-director of the Smart Infrastructure Institute. He also had appointments in the Robotics Institute and in Mechanical Engineering. In 2010, he received the George Tallman Ladd Research Award from the Carnegie Institute of Technology at Carnegie Mellon, as well as an NSF CAREER Award, which is awarded to junior faculty who model the role of teacher-scholar through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research. He joined the faculty at Carnegie Mellon as an assistant professor in 2007. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University.

  10. Prof. Quanyan Zhu

    • Quanyan Zhu received the B.Eng. degree (Hons.) in electrical engineering from McGill University in 2006, the M.A.Sc. degree from the University of Toronto in 2008, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2013. From 2013 to 2014, he was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Princeton University. He is currently an Associate Professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, New York University (NYU). He is also an affiliated Faculty Member with the Center of Cyber Security and the Center for Urban Science and Progress, NYU. His current research interests include cyber-physical systems, cyber security and deception, game theory, machine learning, and network optimization and control. He was a recipient of many awards including the NSF CAREER Award, the NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS), the Mavis Future Faculty Fellowships, and the NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship (PDF). He is a member of the IEEE.