Talk of Prof. Riccardo Ferrari

July 9, 2024

--- Title: Detecting the Undetectable: Using Watermarks to Reveal Stealthy Cyber-Attacks to Control Systems

Time: July 9, 2024
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Prof. Riccardo Ferrari
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
Delft University of Technology
Delft, Netherlands


Tuesday 2024-07-09 4 p.m.
IST Seminar Room 2.255 - Pfaffenwaldring 9 - Campus Stuttgart-Vaihingen



Critical infrastructures such as power grids, communication and energy networks, industrial processes such as nuclear or chemical plants, autonomous transportation systems or robots. These are examples of systems for which safety and resiliency should be an integral part of their design. In this talk we will initially present how we can use mathematical and machine learning models to detect anomalies such as faults or cyber-attacks. The key role of uncertainty in making this task challenging will be introduced, and fundamental limitations between robustness to false alarms and detection sensitivity will be discussed.

Classical model-based anomaly detection algorithms, anyway, are unable to detect crafty, adversarial cyber-attacks. Such attacks are called “stealthy” and include man in the middle attacks such as false data injection, routing and replay attacks. Watermarking is one possible approach to make such attacks detectable, by introducing a mismatch between defender’s and the attacker's knowledge. After introducing a linear multiplicative solution to watermarking, we delve into recent developments on homomorphic encryption, as a more computational intensive but highly promising solution.


Biographical Information

Riccardo M.G. Ferrari is a Marie Curie Alumnus and an Associate Professor in Fault Tolerant Control at the Delft Center for Systems and Control, within the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering (ME) at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. He investigates how to make dynamical systems safe and resilient against faults, malicious cyber-attacks, and degradation phenomena, fighting uncertainty while doing so. His research is applied to problems in wind energy, in the aerospace and in the automotive sectors, for electric and cooperative autonomous vehicles. He received the “Laurea” degree (Cum Laude and printing honours) in Electronic Engineering in 2004 and the Ph.D. degree in Information Engineering in 2009, both from the University of Trieste, Italy. He is the recipient of the 2005 Giacomini Award of the Italian Acoustic Society, and has authored and co-authored over 100 papers published in international peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. He covered a unique career path that led him to hold both academical and industrial R&D positions, as researcher and executive manager in the field of process instrumentation and control for the steelmaking sector.

In 2005 he earned a B.A. in Classical Piano from the “G. Tartini” Conservatory of Music of Trieste (Italy).

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