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Infrastructure Resilience Conference 2018

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Towards Quantitative Analysis of Resilience-Effects of IT-Security Vulnerabilities in Future Power Systems

Cyber-physical infrastructures describe systems that provide crucial services to human societies implemented by intertwined physical and digital technologies. Information technology allows to extend functionality of infrastructure services through improved control systems and increased redundancy through coupling of different infrastructure domains. Tighter coupling increases functional, organisational and spatial interdependencies, which increases the risk of cross-domain error propagation.

As a result information security and physical safety have become increasingly entangled. Infrastructure providers often have extensive experience in tackling safety-related risks. Current information technology and especially IT-security issues are comparatively new topics for infrastructure providers. Furthermore engineering and research have only started to cover security and safety issues in the tight cooperation between physical and digital processes. %\todo{rephrase "cyber and physical are now entangled, but security risks are not yet well covered, i.e. perimeter security}

Considering resilience of critical infrastructures, the distinction between malicious and accidental causes of damaging effects is of secondary importance. Especially as IT-security incidents are often difficult to distinguish from accidental failures, are difficult to be attributed to distinct threat agents and might only identified in post-analysis. All the while, quality of infrastructure services is of high importance for society, motivating to develop resilient, holistic systems rather than on singular solutions.

In this work we propagate a systemic view on resilient cyber-physical infrastructures that focuses on damaging effects of incidents and synergies between the technological domains of safety and security. Based on the critical domain of power systems, we discuss requirements for holistic models of future cyber-physical infrastructures.

Lars Fischer
Universität Oldenburg

Mathias Uslar
OFFIS — Institute for Information Technology

Sebastian Lehnhoff
OFFIS — Institute for Information Technology

Herrman De Meer
Universität Passau


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