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X. Wang, X. Hou, R. Rios, N. Ole Tippenhauer, and M. Ochoa, "Constrained Proximity Attacks on Mobile Targets",
ACM Transactions on Privacy and Security (TOPS), vol. 25, issue 2, no. 10, Association for Computer Machinery (ACM), pp. 1 - 29, 05/2022. DOI (I.F.: 1.909)More..


Proximity attacks allow an adversary to uncover the location of a victim by repeatedly issuing queries with fake location data. These attacks have been mostly studied in scenarios where victims remain static and there are no constraints that limit the actions of the attacker. In such a setting, it is not difficult for the attacker to locate a particular victim and quantifying the effort for doing so is straightforward. However, it is far more realistic to consider scenarios where potential victims present a particular mobility pattern. In this paper, we consider abstract (constrained and unconstrained) attacks on services that provide location information on other users in the proximity. We derive strategies for constrained and unconstrained attackers, and show that when unconstrained they can practically achieve success with theoretically optimal effort. We then propose a simple yet effective constraint that may be employed by a proximity service (for example, running in the cloud or using a suitable two-party protocol) as countermeasure to increase the effort for the attacker several orders of magnitude both in simulated and real-world cases.

Impact Factor: 1.909
Journal Citation Reports® Science Edition (Thomson Reuters, 2020)

PDF icon rios2022cpa.pdf (1.03 MB)
J. Lopez, R. Rios, F. Bao, and G. Wang, "Evolving privacy: From sensors to the Internet of Things",
Future Generation Computer Systems, vol. 75, Elsevier, pp. 46–57, 10/2017. DOI (I.F.: 4.639)More..


The Internet of Things (IoT) envisions a world covered with billions of smart, interacting things capable of offering all sorts of services to near and remote entities. The benefits and comfort that the IoT will bring about are undeniable, however, these may come at the cost of an unprecedented loss of privacy. In this paper we look at the privacy problems of one of the key enablers of the IoT, namely wireless sensor networks, and analyse how these problems may evolve with the development of this complex paradigm. We also identify further challenges which are not directly associated with already existing privacy risks but will certainly have a major impact in our lives if not taken into serious consideration. 

Impact Factor: 4.639
Journal Citation Reports® Science Edition (Thomson Reuters, 2017)

PDF icon Lopez2017iotpriv.pdf (440.5 KB)
C. Alcaraz, J. Lopez, and S. Wolthunsen, "OCPP Protocol: Security Threats and Challenges",
IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, vol. 8, issue 5, IEEE, pp. 2452 - 2459, 02/2017. DOI (I.F.: 7.364)More..


One benefit postulated for the adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs) is their ability to act as stabilizing entities in smart grids through bi-directional charging, allowing local or global smoothing of peaks and imbalances. This benefit, however, hinges indirectly on the reliability and security of the power flows thus achieved. Therefore this paper studies key security properties of the alreadydeployed Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) specifying communication between charging points and energy management systems. It is argued that possible subversion or malicious endpoints in the protocol can also lead to destabilization of power networks. Whilst reviewing these aspects, we focus, from a theoretical and practical standpoint, on attacks that interfere with resource reservation originating with the EV, which may also be initiated by a man in the middle, energy theft or fraud. Such attacks may even be replicated widely, resulting in over- or undershooting of power network provisioning, or the (total/partial) disintegration of the integrity and stability of power networks.

Impact Factor: 7.364
Journal Citation Reports® Science Edition (Thomson Reuters, 2017)

PDF icon AlcarazLopezWolthusen2017.pdf (389.27 KB)
C. Alcaraz, J. Lopez, and S. Wolthusen, "Policy Enforcement System for Secure Interoperable Control in Distributed Smart Grid Systems",
Journal of Network and Computer Applications, vol. 59, Elsevier, pp. 301–314, 01/2016. (I.F.: 3.500)More..


Interoperability of distributed systems in charge of monitoring and maintaining the different critical domains belonging to Smart Grid scenarios comprise the central topic of this paper. Transparency in control transactions under a secure and reliable architecture is the aim of the policy enforcement system proposed here. The approach is based on the degree of observation of a context and on the role-based access control model defined by the IEC-62351-8 standard. Only authenticated and authorised entities are able to take control of those distributed elements (e.g., IEC-61850 objects) located at distant geographical locations and close to the critical infrastructures (e.g., substations). To ensure the effectiveness of the approach, it is built on graphical-theoretical formulations corresponding to graph theory, where it is possible to illustrate power control networks through power-law distributions whose monitoring relies on structural controllability theory. The interconnection of these distributions is subject to a network architecture based on the concept of the supernode where the interoperability depends on a simple rule-based expert system. This expert system focuses not only on accepting or denying access, but also on providing the means to attend to extreme situations, avoiding, as much as possible, the overloading of the communication. Through one practical study we also show the functionalities of the approach and the benefits that the authorisation itself can bring to the interoperability

Impact Factor: 3.500
Journal Citation Reports® Science Edition (Thomson Reuters, 2016)

PDF icon alcaraz2016POL.pdf (1.81 MB)
A. Winfield, J. Sa, C. Fernandez-Gago, C. Dixon, and M. Fisher, "On the Formal Specification of Emergent Behaviours of Swarm Robotics Systems",
International Journal of Advanced Robotics Systems, vol. 2, SAGE Publishing, pp. 363-371, 2005. DOI More..


It is a characteristic of swarm robotics that specifying overall emergent swarm behaviours in terms of the low-level behaviours of individual robots is very difficult. Yet if swarm robotics is to make the transition from the laboratory to real-world engineering realisation we need such specifications. This paper explores the use of temporal logic to formally specify, and possibly also prove, the emergent behaviours of a robotic swarm. The paper makes use of a simplified wireless connected swarm as a case study with which to illustrate the approach. Such a formal approach could be an important step toward a disciplined design methodology for swarm robotics.

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