Establishing Integrity in Dynamic Networks of Cyber Physical Devices

Award #: 0931914
Amount Awarded: $185,000
Sponsoring Organization: NSF (CNS)
Grant Period: 2009 - 2012
Primary Investigator(s): Trent Jaeger

Abstract

The objective of this research is to develop energy-efficient integrity establishment techniques for dynamic networks of cyber physical devices. In such dynamic networks, devices connect opportunistically and perform general-purpose computations on behalf of other devices. However, some devices may be malicious in intent and affect the integrity of computation. The approach is to develop new trust establishment mechanisms for dynamic networks. Existing trusted computing mechanisms are not directly applicable to cyber physical devices because they are resource-intensive and require devices to have special-purpose hardware.

This project is addressing these problems along three research prongs. The first is a comprehensive study of the resource bottlenecks in current trust establishment protocols. Second, the insights from this study are being used to develop resource-aware attestation protocols for cyber physical devices that are equipped with trusted hardware. Third, the project is developing new trust establishment protocols for cyber physical devices that may lack trusted hardware. A key outcome of the project is an improved understanding of the tradeoffs needed to balance the concerns of security and resource-awareness in dynamic networks.

Dynamic networks allow cyber physical devices to form a highly-distributed, cloud-like infrastructure for computations involving the physical world. The trust-establishment mechanisms developed in this project encourage devices to participate in dynamic networks, thereby unleashing the full potential of dynamic networks. This project includes development of dynamic networking applications, such as distributed gaming and social networking, in undergraduate curricula and course projects, thereby fostering the participation of this key demographic.

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