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CSIS Seminar

CYSE Tenure-Track Faculty Candidate Seminar: Malware in the Electrical Power Grid: Attacks and Defenses

Speaker:   Dr. Julian Rrushi, Oakland University, Michigan
When:   April 2, 2021, 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Where:   Zoom


In addition to exploits and command & control modules, malware that are crafted to attack the electrical power grid have a physics-centric nucleus. These malware understand physics, and hence use their knowledge to guide how they initiate physical damage to power grid equipment on a compromised industrial computer. This sample class delivers methods of attack and defense. The class begins with background on some of the data and the algorithms that malware work with when they operate in the electrical power grid. The class continues with a description of attacks that malware implement to cause physical destruction of a power transformer in an electrical substation. The class then provides concepts of cyber deception engineering that detect malware and disrupt their decision making. More specifically, I explain a physics-driven page fault handler in the seL4 microkernel, which, in addition to reducing the page fault rate, differentiates active physics in main memory from passive physics in the backing store. Active physics is leveraged to develop cyber deception that is customized to attack the physics-centric nucleus of malware. This sample class implements student-centered learning, and includes in-class student activities. Zoom Link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/94884075445

Speaker Bio

Dr. Julian Rrushi is a tenure-track assistant professor of engineering at Oakland University, Michigan. He carries out research at the intersection of operating systems, computer architectures, data science and artificial intelligence to break new ground in cybersecurity. His research projects are supported by the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, and industry. Prior to commencing his academic career, Dr. Rrushi was a vulnerability researcher with industry for several years. He received a B.S. in Computer Science, an M.S. in Information Technology, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science, all from the University of Milan. His Ph.D. work focused on detection of malware and exploits in cyber-physical systems. Dr. Rrushi is a recipient of the Young Faculty Award from DARPA, class of 2020, for research on the cyber physics of computing machines and networks.