Special Issue "Sensors and Actuators: Security Threats and Countermeasures"

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Mohammad Hammoudeh

School of Computing, Math and Digital Technology, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester M15 6BH, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: wireless sensor networks; Internet of things; wireless ad hoc communications; mobile communications; network security; sensor/actuator networks; cyber–physical systems
Guest Editor
Dr. Gregory Epiphaniou

University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: wireless sensor networks; cyber defense; crypto-key generation; exploiting the time-domain physical attributes of V-V channels
Co-Guest Editor
Dr. Pedro Pinto

ARC4DigiT, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo and INESC TEC, Viana do Castelo and Porto, Portugal
Website | E-Mail
Interests: security; routing; QoS; IoT; WSN

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The recent proliferation of sensors and actuators, which go hand-in-hand with the Internet of Things (IoT), bring smart living to the general public in many data-critical areas, from homes and healthcare to power grids and transport. These sensors are moving gradually from sensing their surrounding environment only, to data processing and decision-making capabilities with significant implications on explicit e-trust and privacy. As pervasive sensing expands rapidly into new applications, its security also is not keeping up with this evolution. The sheer volume of personal and corporate sensor data makes it a more attractive target for cybercriminals and state-sponsored espionage with an exponential increase of both attack surfaces and threat actors.

The adversarial misuse and security threats in sensor-enabled environments, such as smart cities, are increasingly intertwined with national security and preferential privacy. Hence, governments and organizations are investigating how to mitigate such threats, whilst seeking to regulate the secure integration of Cyber-Physical Systems and IoT devices. For instance, in March 2018, the United Kingdom government announced new measures to boost cybersecurity in internet-connected devices. On the same day, a policy document was published to set out the government's strategy to ensure the consumer IoT is secure by design.

This Special Issue is dedicated to research on the latest developments in sensors and actuators security threats and countermeasures. It is aimed to explore the key security challenges, including the legal basis, facing consumers and technology vendors. The focus is on investigating cybersecurity threats and the solutions needed to respond to them.

  • Topics of interest include but not limited to:
  • Wireless and sensor network emerging threats and defenses
  • Cyber Resilience in wireless sensor networks
  • Secure by design principles in the IoT/SIoT paradigms
  • Secure wireless sensor network communication protocols
  • Novel authentication and access control, including attribute-based authentication and zero trust networks
  • Ransomware attacks on IoT and embedded sensory systems
  • Physical security of sensors and actuators
  • Base device platform analysis and forensic investigations
  • Threat Modelling and Threat Hunting in Sensors’ Hardware
  • Secure decentralized data storage and processing technologies in WSNs

Dr. Mohammad Hammoudeh
Dr. Gregory Epiphaniou
Dr. Pedro Pinto
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Sensor and Actuator Networks is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Mechanism for Securing IoT-enabled Applications at the Fog Layer
J. Sens. Actuator Netw. 2019, 8(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/jsan8010016
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 10 February 2019 / Accepted: 13 February 2019 / Published: 18 February 2019
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Abstract
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging paradigm branded by heterogeneous technologies composed of smart ubiquitous objects that are seamlessly connected to the Internet. These objects are deployed as Low power and Lossy Networks (LLN) to provide innovative services in various application [...] Read more.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging paradigm branded by heterogeneous technologies composed of smart ubiquitous objects that are seamlessly connected to the Internet. These objects are deployed as Low power and Lossy Networks (LLN) to provide innovative services in various application domains such as smart cities, smart health, and smart communities. The LLN is a form of a network where the interconnected devices are highly resource-constrained (i.e., power, memory, and processing) and characterized by high loss rates, low data rates, and instability in the communication links. Additionally, IoT devices produce a massive amount of confidential and security-sensitive data. Various cryptographic-based techniques exist that can effectively cope with security attacks but are not suitable for IoT as they incur high consumption of resources (i.e., memory, storage and processing). One way to address this problem is by offloading the additional security-related operations to a more resourceful entity such as a fog-based node. Generally, fog computing enables security and analysis of latency-sensitive data directly at the network’s edge. This paper proposes a novel Fog Security Service (FSS) to provide end-to-end security at the fog layer for IoT devices using two well-established cryptographic schemes, identity-based encryption, and identity-based signature. The FSS provides security services such as authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation. The proposed architecture would be implemented and evaluated in an OPNET simulator using a single network topology with different traffic loads. The FSS performed better when compared with the APaaS and the legacy method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Actuators: Security Threats and Countermeasures)
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Open AccessArticle Secure and Reliable IoT Networks Using Fog Computing with Software-Defined Networking and Blockchain
J. Sens. Actuator Netw. 2019, 8(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/jsan8010015
Received: 27 December 2018 / Revised: 1 February 2019 / Accepted: 9 February 2019 / Published: 18 February 2019
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Abstract
Designing Internet of Things (IoT) applications faces many challenges including security, massive traffic, high availability, high reliability and energy constraints. Recent distributed computing paradigms, such as Fog and multi-access edge computing (MEC), software-defined networking (SDN), network virtualization and blockchain can be exploited in [...] Read more.
Designing Internet of Things (IoT) applications faces many challenges including security, massive traffic, high availability, high reliability and energy constraints. Recent distributed computing paradigms, such as Fog and multi-access edge computing (MEC), software-defined networking (SDN), network virtualization and blockchain can be exploited in IoT networks, either combined or individually, to overcome the aforementioned challenges while maintaining system performance. In this paper, we present a framework for IoT that employs an edge computing layer of Fog nodes controlled and managed by an SDN network to achieve high reliability and availability for latency-sensitive IoT applications. The SDN network is equipped with distributed controllers and distributed resource constrained OpenFlow switches. Blockchain is used to ensure decentralization in a trustful manner. Additionally, a data offloading algorithm is developed to allocate various processing and computing tasks to the OpenFlow switches based on their current workload. Moreover, a traffic model is proposed to model and analyze the traffic indifferent parts of the network. The proposed algorithm is evaluated in simulation and in a testbed. Experimental results show that the proposed framework achieves higher efficiency in terms of latency and resource utilization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Actuators: Security Threats and Countermeasures)
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Open AccessArticle Preliminaries of Orthogonal Layered Defence Using Functional and Assurance Controls in Industrial Control Systems
J. Sens. Actuator Netw. 2019, 8(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/jsan8010014
Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 27 January 2019 / Published: 14 February 2019
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Abstract
Industrial Control Systems (ICSs) are responsible for the automation of different processes and the overall control of systems that include highly sensitive potential targets such as nuclear facilities, energy-distribution, water-supply, and mass-transit systems. Given the increased complexity and rapid evolvement of their threat [...] Read more.
Industrial Control Systems (ICSs) are responsible for the automation of different processes and the overall control of systems that include highly sensitive potential targets such as nuclear facilities, energy-distribution, water-supply, and mass-transit systems. Given the increased complexity and rapid evolvement of their threat landscape, and the fact that these systems form part of the Critical National infrastructure (CNI), makes them an emerging domain of conflict, terrorist attacks, and a playground for cyberexploitation. Existing layered-defence approaches are increasingly criticised for their inability to adequately protect against resourceful and persistent adversaries. It is therefore essential that emerging techniques, such as orthogonality, be combined with existing security strategies to leverage defence advantages against adaptive and often asymmetrical attack vectors. The concept of orthogonality is relatively new and unexplored in an ICS environment and consists of having assurance control as well as functional control at each layer. Our work seeks to partially articulate a framework where multiple functional and assurance controls are introduced at each layer of ICS architectural design to further enhance security while maintaining critical real-time transfer of command and control traffic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Actuators: Security Threats and Countermeasures)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Model Mediation to Overcome Light Limitations—Toward a Secure Tactile Internet System
J. Sens. Actuator Netw. 2019, 8(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/jsan8010006
Received: 21 November 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 25 December 2018 / Published: 2 January 2019
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Abstract
Enabling haptic communication as well as voice and data over the future 5G cellular system has become a demand. Tactile Internet is one of the main use cases of the 5G system that will allow the transfer of haptic communications in real time. [...] Read more.
Enabling haptic communication as well as voice and data over the future 5G cellular system has become a demand. Tactile Internet is one of the main use cases of the 5G system that will allow the transfer of haptic communications in real time. Latency, availability, reliability, and security are the main design challenges of the tactile Internet system and haptic based bilateral teleoperation systems. An end-to-end latency of 1 ms remains the main challenge toward tactile Internet system realization, not only for the processing and coding delays but mainly for the limitations of light. In this work, we analyze the key solutions to overcome the light limitations and enable the tactile Internet over any distances with the required latency. Building a virtual model or model mediated for the remote environment at the edge cloud unit near to the end user is the main solution. By means of AI, the virtual model can predict the behavior of the remote environment and thus, the end user can interact with the virtual environment with a high system experience. This literature review covers the existing work of the model mediated bilateral teleoperated systems and discusses its availability for the tactile Internet system. Furthermore, the security issues of tactile Internet system and the effect of model mediated system on the required security level of tactile Internet applications are discussed. Finally, a structure for the tactile Internet system, with the deployment of model mediation, is suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Actuators: Security Threats and Countermeasures)
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Open AccessReview Security Vulnerabilities in Bluetooth Technology as Used in IoT
J. Sens. Actuator Netw. 2018, 7(3), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/jsan7030028
Received: 24 April 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 12 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3666 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bluetooth technology is a key component of wireless communications. It provides a low-energy and low-cost solution for short-range radio transmissions. Bluetooth, more specifically Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) has become the predominant technology for connecting IoT (Internet of Things). It can be found in [...] Read more.
Bluetooth technology is a key component of wireless communications. It provides a low-energy and low-cost solution for short-range radio transmissions. Bluetooth, more specifically Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) has become the predominant technology for connecting IoT (Internet of Things). It can be found in cell phones, headsets, speakers, printers, keyboards, automobiles, children’s toys, and medical devices, as well as many other devices. The technology can also be found in automated smart homes, to provide monitors and controls for lights, thermostats, door locks, appliances, security systems, and cameras. Bluetooth offers convenience and ease of use, but it lacks a centralized security infrastructure. As a result, it has serious security vulnerabilities, and the need for awareness of the security risks are increasing as the technology becomes more widespread. This paper presents an overview of Bluetooth technology in IoT including its security, vulnerabilities, threats, and risk mitigation solutions, as well as real-life examples of exploits. Our study highlights the importance of understanding attack risks and mitigation techniques involved with using Bluetooth technology on our devices. Real-life examples of recent Bluetooth exploits are presented. Several recommended security measures are discussed to secure Bluetooth communication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Actuators: Security Threats and Countermeasures)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Paper Type: Review
Title: Cybersecurity Approaches in Precision Agriculture
Authors: Hongmei Chi et al.
Affiliation: Florida A&M University
Abstract: Precision agriculture or farming comprises a set of technologies that combines sensors, information systems, enhanced machinery, and informed management to optimize production by accounting for variability and uncertainties within agricultural systems. The digital farm is a uniquely complex system, involving interactions among multiple factors over many time and space scales. The goal of this review paper is to establish a foundation for research and education focused on solutions to current and emerging challenges of  IoT  in digital farm domains with heightened requirements for reliability, security and performance. The gap between capabilities and the ability to safeguard information assets must not be ignored, given the documented rise in the number and sophistication of threats and the broadening vulnerabilities of  IoT applications and systems worldwide. In addition, a framework of security approach for dataflow in precision agriculture is discussed.
Keywords: Precision agriculture, privacy, food security, wireless sensor network, data security, encryption

Authors: Pedro Pinto et al.
Affiliation: Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo and INESC TEC

Authors: Thar Baker et al.
Affiliation: Liverpool John Moors University

Authors: Hae Young Lee et al.
Affiliation: DuDu IT

J. Sens. Actuator Netw. EISSN 2224-2708 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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