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Research Projects

IIS&D - Information Infrastructure Security and Dependability

  • Sponsoring body: FNR Luxembourg (PEARL grant). 
  • Project /UniLux funding: 4.975.000,00 €.
  • Coordinator: University of Luxembourg (LU).
  • Start Date: Jan 2015. Duration: 5 years.
  • Principal Investigator: Prof. Paulo Esteves-Veríssimo

ICT (Information and Communication Technology) became so important in our lives that a great deal of society’s stakes is today placed on the cyber sphere. The pillars of this new environment are critical information infrastructures (CII), both classical ones (cyber-physical systems such as energy grids or telecom networks), and emerging infrastructures relying on the Internet-Cloud complex (finance, public administration, or e-biobanks).

Their progressive convergence creates a challenging scenario: extremely large-scale and extremely complex and decentralised computer and network systems. This scenario may create enormous opportunities, but also bring about similarly extreme security and dependability risks, such as sophisticated targeted attacks, or advanced persistent threats (APT), from powerful adversaries, be it from organised crime and cyber-terrorism, cyber-hacktivism organisations or militias, or nation-state armies or agencies.

This project’s main scientific objective is to investigate and develop paradigms and techniques that promote resilience of CIIs, endowing their systems with the capacity of defeating extreme adversary power and sustaining perpetual and unattended operation. We plan on addressing this level of threat drawing from and building on recent research on powerful and innovative automatic security and dependability techniques.

This strategic programme, which will hopefully be reinforced and complemented by ancillary, more focused research projects, national and international, also aims as at building-up research momentum contributing to the visibility of SnT and UL as an international centre of excellence in extreme computing and specifically in the context of information infrastructure security and dependability, seeking high prospective industrial exploitation benefitting industrial partners, and promoting interdisciplinary research, namely within the UL.

Architectural Support for Automatic Resilience of Autonomous Cooperative Systems

  • Sponsoring body: Intel Corporation
  • Coordinator: Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Collaborative Autonomous & Resilient Systems (ICRI-CARS)
  • Start date: 17/10/2017. Duration 3 years.
  • Principal Investigator: Prof. Paulo Esteves-Veríssimo
  • Key Researchers: Dr.-Ing. Marcus Völp, Dr. David Kozhaya

Within the sphere of accidental faults, computing systems and infrastructures in general IT currently use fault-tolerance techniques, yielding automatic error recovery and, in consequence, failure avoidance. Collaborating autonomous systems, such as vehicle eco-systems, use such fault-tolerance extensively, leaving them safe from an accidental faults perspective but highly vulnerable to malicious faults activating defects that would be almost impossible to reach accidentally. This safety-security gap is bound to increase. With the threat of cyber warfare and terrorism one has to expect advanced persistent threats and targeted attacks performed with sophisticated tools by highly-skilled adversarial teams.

This project therefore pursues the development of principled paradigms and techniques which, besides seeking initially correct and fault free system operation, will endow vehicle control systems with the capacity to defeat extreme adversary power automatically, maintain operability in real time during attacks, and sustain perpetual and unattended operation within the limits of warranties, despite faults and attacks. The project will develop tools and architectures ensuring that vehicles can automatically survive, tolerate and self-heal. During attacks, vehicles will safeguard functional safety, resorting in worst case to gracefully degraded or fail-safe operation modes. Techniques such as Byzantine fault and intrusion tolerance, diversification, recovery, self-healing and architectural hybridisation with trusted components will be developed and combined into a coherent whole achieving the goal of automatic resilience.

This project is part of the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Collaborative Autonomous & Resilient Systems (ICRI-CARS), with the contribution of five universities: TU Darmstadt, Aalto University, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Wien and the University of Luxembourg. Together they study the security, privacy and safety of autonomous systems, ranging from drones and self-driving vehicles to collaborative systems in industrial automation.