Cybersecurity — Erol Gelenbe / Serious Science

July 29, 2019 posted by



cybersecurity is a fairly new topic in a way although cryptography is a very old topic if you think of it about cryptography it probably goes back to perhaps a thousand years perhaps more because the initial purpose was to conceal information that is to make information only visible only understandable to the designated sender and the designated receiver with cyber that with a cyber world that we were living in today all of our infrastructures are being interconnected through the internet as a result a new form of threat has come up which we call cyber security a cyber security has two parts two players generally the cyber attackers and the cyber defenders these are two groups which typically have the same technical knowledge so it's a game played between two equal partners and very often those people who attack are the same as the same type of people and the same type of knowledge as the people who defend now when this is going on the most obvious objective can be to capture information to capture information that should not be made public or that should remain private among between the sender and the receiver however aside from this very obvious objective which is strictly covered by cryptography that is the encoding and the decoding of information and the encoding and decoding of information is being done today via very complex computational procedures that is nothing is unbreakable but everything needs a lot of time to be broken and this is how protection is assured through the very long computational times associated with the protection now because we have looked at cyber security through the vision of cryptography at some point new games come into play these are cyberattacks which have nothing to do with cryptography but which are actually creating a nuisance an impossibility of usage of the system thus cyber attacks become attacks on the usage of the system rather than attacks on the information it contains many of the international attacks that we have been seeing are based on this approach where the attackers try to impede the progress of the of normal usage of the system and examples are for instance the denial of service attacks on one hand a denial of service attacks then sink attacks then attacks such as one a cry where the usage of their own system was stopped for the people who were trying to use their own systems that is the attack stop the people from actually accessing their own systems so what is quite interesting is that the center of gravity of cyber security has displaced itself from the field of cryptography towards the field of attacks which impede the usage of our systems or which transform the content of our systems so that the end user cannot actually access the true information let me give you a very simple example suppose you're attacking a system which is being controlled physically think of a machine that you're controlling at a distance this control requires a sequence of steps if you as an attacker are able to disorder the sequence change the order in which the sequence of instructions to the system arrive then you are completely disabling the system because the machine at the other end will be transforming its actions in an unwanted manner this is an example of an attack on the internet of things a lot of the international attacks we have heard about for instance on these centrifuges many years ago these were essentially based on changing the instructions given to mechanical systems so the attack now not just on human beings but it's also on mechanical systems and on the things that surround us and which are controlled by the Internet as we move forward we will have to understand all forms of attacks including for instance attacks on the energy supply associated with certain systems for instance a lot of sensors that we use in offices in traffic lights and so on are powered with batteries it is possible to attack the sensors by attacking the batteries so if you manage to deplete the energy in the batteries from through an Internet action then you have also attacked the sensor and you have attacked the final result thus the whole area of cyber security has become a holistic area where you're dealing with all kinds of attacks on all aspects of the system and not just on the information and not just on the content of the information as we move forward the research results the research issues are going to be related to this complexity and the approaches are going to be far more statistical and far more based on mathematical modeling of a whole system than on the details of the cryptography or of the content in the field of cybersecurity I'm involved in three projects these three projects deal with different areas of interest one project relates to the security of health data transfers so where does the problem come from as we move around as we travel as we go to our doctor even in our own city our information is accessed by the doctor or by the health professional is accessed online so as we do that there are all kinds of questions that come up for instance how does the health professional authenticate its individual rights to access this data how do we provide the permit to the health professional for instance if you are in France you provide this permit by handing to the health professional a card has an encrypted chip chip on it and which also has your photograph so the health professional can verify who you are by looking at the photograph and can then the system can verify your identity through the chip that is on the card so this is the authenticated authentication part on your side however the health professional has to do the same things the health professional has to introduce a car similar card into the system to indicate who she or he is with respect to the system now this is of just the first part and then there are the transfers as soon as these steps have been made the authentication has been assured then you have to transfer data from central systems or from the cloud towards the health professional who has to read what your health statuses what your history is and also requests possibly request the new tests new information so that your the information that that health professional will use will be completed as the this is being done the health professional is exchanging this that data constantly with a central system and all the data at that point can be attacked but why would the attacker know to attack this particular data well the attacker would know if the attacker can identify that the authentication phase deals will health data because then they can say oh this is a health operation and they can do this if they have software on the devices that can inform them of what you are doing or what the health professional is doing so the one of my projects is related to a holistic view of how you control these exchanges in order to assure maximally assure that there hasn't been any tapering tampering with the information there hasn't been any modification of the contents because for instance if your identities changed by the system or if some false information is is given then it can have physical effects on you as a patient because the you may be prescribed the wrong and the wrong medicines and so on so the physical effects at the end are what you worry about it's not so much the cybersecurity itself which is so important what is much more important is the impact on the individual at the end so one of my projects is it's called confit dough it's funded by the European Union in fact I was in Milan last week because of that is related to this particular issue of the security of end-to-end security of health data exchanges a second project that I have is related to what they call home gateways for the Internet of Things what is a home gateway suppose you have a home in this home there's going to be a security sensor there's going to be a temperature sensor there may be a control system in the house to control the temperature in the house you may have links so that you can follow what is happening to the children when they're sleeping and so on so you have a complete interconnected small internet inside this domicile this information is being monitored from the outside by perhaps some security company that you have given rights to and there'll be a home gateway so in this second ghost project we are looking at attacks on the home gateway itself so are the flows coming through the Internet to this home gateway attacks or not you have to look at the statistical nature of these of these exchanges so that you can be able to tell whether it's an attack and my role in this project is to design attack detectors so design the algorithms and the statistical methods that will allow you to say there is highly likely an attack going on my third project is about how you move data in the Internet when you're handling a lot of cyber physical systems so I won't say too much about that it's a new project and it's just been going on for less than a year but that's a very interesting very holistic type of project as well as I conclude I'd like to stress the fact that the issue of cyber security has now moved all the way from cryptography all the way and when we talk about cryptography you could also think about Bitcoin about cryptocurrencies but it's moved all the way to actually protecting infrastructures where you need to deal with the statistics of what is happening the system as a whole to understand what kinds of traffic addressing the systems that you want to protect our in effect possibly attack traffic's and how you reorganize your system dynamically so that you can reduce mitigate the effect of the attacks

4 Comments

4 Replies to “Cybersecurity — Erol Gelenbe / Serious Science”

  1. LAUCH3D says:

    kryptographs will win

  2. Norwall Music says:

    Can't wait to see more stuff like this.

  3. Al Fresco says:

    Very interesting, thanks.

  4. Andrei Dolgov says:

    🙃

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