SCI Assistant Professor Amy Babay is investigating ways to protect critical infrastructure that may have suffered under a natural disaster, which provides an inlet for malicious actors to launch cybersecurity attacks. In a 3-year project titled "Severe Impact Resilience: Framework for Adaptive Compound Threats", Dr. Babay is working with colleagues at Johns Hopkins University, Colorado State University, and University of Cyprus to investigate compound threats to critical infrastructure systems, where damage due to a natural disaster is compounded by opportunistic cyberattacks that attempt to capitalize on that damage to further disrupt the system or delay the recovery process. The goals of this project are to develop frameworks to model the effects of these compound threats, and to design new system architectures that can better withstand this combination of natural disasters and malicious attacks. For example, this work will allow researchers to be able to model the impact of a disaster like a hurricane on power grid infrastructure and control systems, understand how a follow-on cyberattack could intensify or prolong those effects, and design systems that can continue to operate even under these threats to minimize the actual power service disruption and impact on surrounding communities.
The project is funded by the DoD Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and led by Dr. Imes Chiu from the US Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Lab.