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Combined cyber and physical vulnerability assessment of critical transportation infrastructure

Project Description

Transportation systems are occasionally under threat from natural accidental physical threats such as earthquakes, flooding, landslides, etc or intentional manmade threats such as a terrorist bombing. These threats can result in full or partial damage to physical infrastructure e.g. bridges, embankments, roads, etc. Understanding the vulnerability to the physical infrastructure allows critical infrastructure owners/operators and emergency responders to improve the resilience of the transportation network and help recover faster from such events. Computing and communication capabilities are increasingly being embedded into transportation systems offering novel attack opportunities. Criminals and/or terrorists can exploit software vulnerabilities in SCADA systems, traffic light systems or communication systems to damage the transportation system and cause harm to citizens.
This project will identify new vulnerabilities resulting from combined cyber and physicalthreats. Considerable work has been completed on cyber threats, and physical threats separately, however, combining the physical and cyber in a cascading way is new and of great interest.
An example of a combined attack would be a terrorist attack on a bridge followed by a cyber attacker jamming communication systems. The physical attack has reduced the vulnerability of the physical infrastructure and therefore provided an opportunity or weakness in the cyber systems to allow cyber attackers an opportunity. The project will assess the physical and cyber vulnerabilities together and help the critical infrastructure owners/operators to have quantified data about how to improve the resilience of their infrastructure.

• For urban transportation infrastructure, combine vulnerabilities in a cascading manner from physical and cyber threats for the first time
• Critical transportation infrastructure is vulnerable to cyber attacks, however, it is more vulnerable to cyber attacks following a physical threat. Therefore, fragility functions for combined cyber and physical threats to transportation critical infrastructure will be derived
• Critical infrastructure owner/operators will be provided with a resilience index that will quantify the resilience of the critical infrastructure to combined attacks.

Please upload a CV and cover letter and once the deadline is complete shortlisting will take place.

Funding Notes

Role: PhD Studentship
Start Date: September 2019
Duration of award: 4 years
Co-supervisor: Assistant Professor Liliana Pasquale (UCD Computer Science)
Funding amount: €15,000 per annum
Eligibility: EU and non-EU students
Hours: Full-time
Location: University College Dublin, Ireland

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