Increasingly, physical systems are monitored, protected and controlled by cyber systems. Consider electric power generation, gas/petroleum production, air and land transportation, or medical systems. Control and protection decisions are now decided in the cyberspace and executed via a cyber/physical interface where intruders can steal sensitive information, cause disruptions, and outright irreparable harm. Security concerns need to be brought to the forefront of the design of cyber-physical systems.
The detection of attacks now requires that domain-specific models and simulators -- which can provide physical-system awareness -- be included early in the design process. Georgia Tech has established significant research in cyber-physical security with emphasis on healthcare and energy systems. Georgia Tech researchers also focus on maximizing cybersecurity and operational security by integrating "cyber management" into the total protection and control of large complex systems, such as those used for a power grid. These research activities pave the way to make the operation of physical systems far more reliable compared to design approaches of the past.
Defense against cyberattacks is still too poorly understood. The Institute for Information Security & Privacy exists to help industry and government simultaneously maximize the operational security and cybersecurity of essential infrastructure that powers homes and businesses, delivers gas and petroleum, allows fluid communication of funds and information, and -- in short -- powers the U.S. economy.