Russian scientists develop way to assess cyber risks

  • May 24, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Specialists from Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) have developed a method for assessing cyber risks in the intelligent systems of a smart city.

St Petersburg, like other cities in Russia, is actively participating in the establishment of the country’s smart city programme, which will provide services for residents of the megalopolis, increasing the safety of citizens. Digital services are essential for such a system.

Due to IoT systems, the environment can adapt to the needs of humanity on its own accord. Cyber-security threats are especially dangerous for such an infrastructure.

The developed methodology was tested on a smart crossroads test bench, a component of a smart transport system in a smart city. The results were published in the scientific journal Machines from the MDPI publishing house.

Scientists note that the goal for cyber criminals is to disrupt the functioning of large enterprises and urban infrastructure, as well as is to intercept the control over them. The attackers using wireless links can remotely invade into the target subnet or devices, intercept traffic, launch denial of service attacks, and take control of IoT devices to create botnets.

“Currently, traditional cyber-risk analysis strategies can’t be directly applied in the construction and assessment of digital infrastructures in a smart city, because the new network infrastructure is heterogeneous and dynamic,” said researcher Vasily Krundyshev from the Institute of Cybersecurity & Data Protection at SPbPU. “The goal of our project is to ensure the level of the information assets security considering the specifics of modern cyber threats.”

The researchers developed a methodology for analysing cyber-security risks, which includes the stages of identifying asset types, identifying threats, calculating risks and analysing the resulting risk values. The proposed method is based on a quantitative approach; at the same time it is easily and quickly computable, which is important for the functioning of modern dynamic infrastructures.

Experimental studies using a set of developed simulation models of typical digital infrastructures of a smart city – IoT, smart building and smart crossroads – demonstrated the advantages of the approach over existing analogue methods.

In the near future, it is planned to arrange the automatic calculation of cyber-security risks in a smart city based on the developed methodology. 

The reported study was funded by Russian Foundation for Basic Research.