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Large Scale, Real-time Systems Security Analysis in Higher Education

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Information and Network Security

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.877.1 - 25.877.7



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Paper Authors


Frank Jordan Sheen Brigham Young University

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Jordan Sheen is a graduate student in the School of Technology at Brigham Young University (BYU). Sheen completed a B.S in information technology at BYU in 2011, where his main interests were in cyber security and embedded systems. In his graduate program, Sheen will focus on the security of critical infrastructure components. In his spare time, Sheen enjoys walking with his wife, wrestling with his three sons, and cooing for his infant daughter.

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Dale C. Rowe Ph.D. Brigham Young University

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Dale Rowe’s is an asst. professor of IT and a director of the Cyber Security Research Laboratory. His research interests include securing critical infrastructure, open source cyber intelligence and threat analysis. He is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and holds a GIAC certification as an Exploit Researcher and Advanced Penetration Tester (GXPN). He is also a member of the IET, a Chartered IT Professional of the BCS, vice-president of the ISSA Utah Chapter and a senior research advisor to the Cyber Security Forum Initiative (CSFI). He transitioned from industry to academia in 2010 when he moved from the UK to the USA. He is married with 5 children.

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Richard G. Helps Brigham Young University

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Richard Helps' research interests are in embedded systems, human-computer interaction, and technical course design for rapidly-changing technologies. He is a member of ASEE, IEEE (and IEEE-CS), ACM, and SIGITE. He has been involved in ABET accreditation as a Commissioner and Program Evaluator and continues his involvement in SIGITE in developing and promoting IT programs.

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Large Scale, Real-Time Systems Security Analysis in Higher Education This paper discusses the positive and negative aspects of large scale, real time systems’security (e.g, SCADA and industrial control) as currently taught in higher education. SCADAand industrial control systems security has not been a strong focus in university curricula in thepast. However, as a result of the Stuxnet virus and its disastrous affects, the United States hasdeclared that our nation must be better equipped against cyber warfare. It has now becomenecessary to instruct students from information technology (IT) and engineering disciplinesabout how to secure environments with thousands of real-time nodes, such as those in SCADAand industrial control systems. Courses in security, networking, operating systems, embedded systems, and computerarchitecture facilitate opportunities for students to understand the fundamental concepts of largescale systems. Even though securing these systems may not be an emphasis in many technologyprograms, this paper shows how foundational coursework, along with advanced security content,can prepare students to secure conventional as well as industrial real-time systems regardless ofscale. This paper also highlights how the study of SCADA and industrial control systems canact as a bridging component between engineering and IT disciplines. Many engineering and ITdisciplines cover embedded systems, but each takes a fundamentally different approach. ITdisciplines tend to focus their content towards the use of an embedded system in a larger whole,whereas engineering disciplines focus on the inner workings of embedded devices themselves.Coursework where an emphasis on securing SCADA and industrial control is present can beimportant in bridging the gap of understanding between disciplines.

Sheen, F. J., & Rowe, D. C., & Helps, R. G. (2012, June), Large Scale, Real-time Systems Security Analysis in Higher Education Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21634

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