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  1. The widespread availability of vulnerable IoT devices has resulted in IoT botnets. A particularly concerning IoT botnet can be built around high-wattage IoT devices such as EV chargers because, in large numbers, they can abruptly change the electricity consumption in the power grid. These attacks are called Manipulation of Demand via IoT (MaDIoT) attacks. Previous research has shown that the existing power grid protection mechanisms prevent any large-scale negative consequences to the grid from MaDIoT attacks. In this paper, we analyze this assumption and show that an intelligent attacker with extra knowledge about the power grid and its state, can launch more sophisticated attacks. Rather than attacking all locations at random times, our adversary uses an instability metric that lets the attacker know the specific time and geographical location to activate the high-wattage bots. We call these new attacks MaDIoT 2.0.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  2. If a trader could predict price changes in the stock market better than other traders, she would make a fortune. Similarly in the electricity market, a trader that could predict changes in the electricity load, and thus electricity prices, would be able to make large profits. Predicting price changes in the electricity market better than other market participants is hard, but in this paper, we show that attackers can manipulate the electricity prices in small but predictable ways, giving them a competitive advantage in the market. Our attack is possible when the adversary controls a botnet of high wattage devices such as air conditioning units, which are able to abruptly change the total demand of the power grid. Such attacks are called Manipulation of Demand via IoT (MaDIoT) attacks. In this paper, we present a new variant of MaDIoT and name it Manipulation of Market via IoT (MaMIoT). MaMIoT is the first energy market manipulation cyberattack that leverages high wattage IoT botnets to slightly change the total demand of the power grid with the aim of affecting the electricity prices in the favor of specific market players. Using real-world data obtained from two major energy markets, we show that MaMIoTmore »can significantly increase the profit of particular market players or financially damage a group of players depending on the motivation of the attacker.« less
  3. This paper takes a first look at the potential consequences of cyberattacks against structural control systems. We design algorithms and implement them in a testbed and on well-known benchmark models for buildings and bridges. Our results show that attacks to structures equipped with semi-active and active vibration control systems can let the attacker oscillate the building or bridge at the resonance frequency, effectively generating threats to the structure and the people using it. We also implement and test the effectiveness of attack-detection systems.
  4. Federated learning (FL) allows a set of agents to collaboratively train a model without sharing their potentially sensitive data. This makes FL suitable for privacy-preserving applications. At the same time, FL is susceptible to adversarial attacks due to decentralized and unvetted data. One important line of attacks against FL is the backdoor attacks. In a backdoor attack, an adversary tries to embed a backdoor functionality to the model during training that can later be activated to cause a desired misclassification. To prevent backdoor attacks, we propose a lightweight defense that requires minimal change to the FL protocol. At a high level, our defense is based on carefully adjusting the aggregation server's learning rate, per dimension and per round, based on the sign information of agents' updates. We first conjecture the necessary steps to carry a successful backdoor attack in FL setting, and then, explicitly formulate the defense based on our conjecture. Through experiments, we provide empirical evidence that supports our conjecture, and we test our defense against backdoor attacks under different settings. We observe that either backdoor is completely eliminated, or its accuracy is significantly reduced. Overall, our experiments suggest that our defense significantly outperforms some of the recently proposedmore »defenses in the literature. We achieve this by having minimal influence over the accuracy of the trained models. In addition, we also provide convergence rate analysis for our proposed scheme.« less
  5. The last decade has seen a growing interest in adversarial classification, where an attacker tries to mislead a classifier meant to detect anomalies. We study this problem in a setting where anomaly detection is being used in conjunction with differential privacy to protect personal information. We show that a strategic attacker can leverage the additional noise (introduced to ensure differential privacy) to mislead the classifier beyond what the attacker could do otherwise; we also propose countermeasures against such attacks. We then evaluate the impact of our attacks and defenses in road traffic congestion and smart metering examples.