Asee peer logo

Security Analysis of CPS: Understanding Current Concerns as a Foundation for Future Design

Download Paper |


2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Embedded Systems and Mobile Computing

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1057.1 - 23.1057.19



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Francis N Mensah College of Engineering and Technology, Brigham Young University

visit author page

Francis Mensah received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical/ Electronics Engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in May 2006. He is currently getting a Masters Degree in Information Technology at Brigham Young University with an emphasis in computer networking and security. He also has a special interest in Cyber-Physical Systems. During his leisure time, Francis enjoys playing the piano and listening to classical music.

visit author page


Richard G. Helps Brigham Young University

visit author page

Richard Helps is an associate professor in the Information Technology Program at BYU. He has research interests in embedded systems, human-computer interaction and curriculum design. He is a member off ASEE, IEEE, IEEE-CS, ACM-SIGITE and an ABET PEV for Information Technology.

visit author page

Download Paper |


SECURITY ANALYSIS OF CPS: UNDERSTANDING CURRENT CONCERNS AS A FOUNDATION FOR FUTURE DESIGNABSTRACTCyber-Physical Systems (CPS) or Embedded Systems are now so wide spread that we seeapplications in almost every aspect of our everyday activities. Application fields includeindustrial process control, health care, transportation, financial transaction systems, buildingsecurity systems, home electronics, and automobiles, among others. The “Physical” aspect ofCPS indicates that these systems interact mainly with the physical world and thus cansignificantly impact human and environmental safety as well as large physical infrastructuresystems. CPS failure can therefore have catastrophic consequences. It is thus very important thatCPS operate in a safe, reliable and secure manner. While these systems have seen a lot oftechnological improvements resulting in increased functionality, the issue of security has been alow priority in their design, thus exposing them to several security threats. If we are to benefitfully from the many applications of CPS then security ought to take a central role in their design.The challenges of security design for CPS are aggravated by the lack of standardization inhardware, operating systems, networking and the diverse physical environment. Addressing suchchallenges needs a strong collaboration between those skilled in CPS component design as wellas those skilled in security and other aspects of these complex systems.This study includes an analysis of the available literature and design practices in several CPSapplication fields, with an emphasis on design for security. The Information Technologycommunity has a rich background in security analysis, although not previously applied to CPSdesign. Thus a security analysis methodology for CPS was developed from recognized securityanalysis for conventional computing. Assets, security threats and risks are analyzed relative to aCPS environment. Current security solutions are presented and compared. We discussevolutionary changes of CPS leading to their growing importance within computing disciplinesand their increasing role in large, heterogeneous distributed systems. Finally the integrativenature of CPS design is discussed and the role of Information Technology as a major contributorto CPS design for security is emphasized.

Mensah, F. N., & Helps, R. G. (2013, June), Security Analysis of CPS: Understanding Current Concerns as a Foundation for Future Design Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22442

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2013 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015