Analyzing Implicit Interactions in CI Systems

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Critical infrastructure including ports, transportation systems, communications networks, manufacturing facilities, and energy and water distribution systems consist of numerous components linked in complex ways. This can lead to unforeseen interactions among components that may not be expected or intended by the designers and operators of the system. The presence of these “implicit interactions” in a system can indicate unforeseen flaws that, if not mitigated, could be exploited to mount a cyber-attack at a later time. This can have severe consequences in terms of the safety, security, and reliability of the system. It is too often the case that these implicit interactions are only made visible or known when the system experiences an attack or failure. Therefore, this notion of implicit interactions must be carefully managed in order to have systems that operate as intended, and that are resistant to cyber-attacks and failures.

In this webinar, we will discuss recent work in developing approaches for identifying and analyzing the existence and severity of implicit interactions in critical infrastructure systems. We will also discuss how this work helps to provide a better understanding of the nature of these kinds of interactions. This enhanced understanding can be leveraged to develop approaches to address the growing need for rigorous and practical methods/techniques for assuring the safe, secure, and reliable operation the nation’s critical infrastructure.


Dr. Jason Jaskolka is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering at Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada. He received his Ph.D. in Software Engineering in 2015 from McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.

His research interests include cybersecurity assurance and security-by-design, covert channel analysis, distributed multi-agent systems, and formal methods and algebraic approaches for software engineering. His current research aims to address critical issues in designing and implementing safe, secure, and reliable systems. He is working towards the development of methodologies for developing intrinsically secure and resilient software-dependent systems. Dr. Jaskolka is also currently working on designing and developing critical infrastructure cybersecurity assessment methodologies and associated modeling and simulation environments with the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (CIRI), which is a DHS S&T Center of Excellence at the University of Illinois.

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