Visible to the public Securing Mobile Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs) Against Stealthy Attacks

Project Details
Lead PI:Mina Guirguis
Performance Period:01/13/12 - 02/26/15
Institution(s):Texas State University - San Marcos
Sponsor(s):National Science Foundation
Texas State University - San Marcos
Project URL:
Award Number:1149397
2075 Reads. Placed 120 out of 804 NSF CPS Projects based on total reads on all related artifacts.
Abstract: As Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs) employing mobile nodes continue to integrate into the physical world, ensuring their safety and security become crucial goals. Due to their mobility, real-time, energy and safety constraints, coupled by their reliance on communication mediums that are subject to interference and intentional jamming, the projected complexities in Mobile CPSs will far exceed those of traditional computing systems. Such increase in complexity widens the malicious opportunities for adversaries and with many components interacting together, distinguishing between normal and abnormal behaviors becomes quite challenging. The research work in this project falls along two main thrusts: (1) identifying stealthy attacks and (2) developing defense mechanisms. Along the first thrust, a unifying theoretical framework is developed to uncover attacks in a systematic manner whereby an adversary solves Markovian Decision Processes problems to identify optimal and suboptimal attack policies. The effects of the attacks are assessed through different instantiations of damage and cost metrics. Along the second thrust, novel randomization controllers and randomization-aware anomaly detection mechanisms are developed to prevent, detect and mitigate stealthy attacks. The outcomes of this CAREER project will ultimately provide concrete foundations to build more secure systems in the areas of robotics, autonomous vehicles, and intelligent transportation systems. The educational activities--as in curriculum development and hands-on laboratory experiences--will provide students with the essential skills to build dependable and trustworthy systems, while ensuring the participation of undergraduates, women and underrepresented minorities. The outreach activities will expose high school students to Computer Science education and scientific research.


We host students from surrounding schools (elementary, middle and high school) into our lab. The goal of these visits is to expose the students to some of our ongoing research in the areas of robotics and sensor networks. The students will attend demonstration sessions prepared by our team.

  • In August 2014, we organized a 3-day robotics workshop for SPARK students.
  • In May 2014, we hosted Middle School students from Doris Miller and Owen Goodnight Middle schools (San Marcos CISD).
  • In November 2013, we hosted High School Students in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Conference.
  • In September 2013, we hosted students for the Texas State Family Weekend.
  • In September 2012, we hosted 4th and 5th grade GT students from Crockett and Mendez Elementary schools (San Marcos CISD).


Emad Guirguis, Mina Guirguis and Nikhil Halkude. "A Case for Low-level Jamming Attacks on Mobile CPS in Target Tracking Applications", 01/15/2012-12/31/2012, 2012, "In proceedings of the International Symposium on Pervasive Systems, Algorithms, and Networks.".

Janiece Kelly, Seth Richter and Mina Guirguis. "Stealthy Attacks on Pheromone Swarming Methods", 01/15/2012-12/31/2012, 2013, "IEEE International Multi-Disciplinary Conference on Cognitive Methods in Situation Awareness and Decision Support.".

Mina Guirguis and George Atia. "Stuck in Traffic (SiT) Attacks: A Framework for Identifying Stealthy Attacks that Cause Traffic Congestion", 01/15/2012-12/31/2012, 2013, "IEEE 77th Vehicular Technology Conference".

Mina Guirguis and George Atia. "Stuck in Traffic (SiT) Attacks: A Framework for Identifying Stealthy Attacks that Cause Traffic Congestion", 01/15/2012-12/31/2012, 2012, "arXiv:1210.5454".