Detection of replay attacks in cyber-physical systems using a frequency-based signature

Journal Article (2019)


Journal of the Franklin Institute







Doc link


Download the digital copy of the doc pdf document


This paper proposes a frequency-based approach for the detection of replay attacks affecting cyber-physical systems (CPS). In particular, the method employs a sinusoidal signal with a time-varying frequency (authentication signal) into the closed-loop system and checks whether the time profile of the frequency components in the output signal are compatible with the authentication signal or not. In order to carry out this target, the couplings between inputs and outputs are eliminated using a dynamic decoupling technique based on vector fitting. In this way, a signature introduced on a specific input channel will affect only the output that is selected to be associated with that input, which is a property that can be exploited to determine which channels are being affected. A bank of band-pass filters is used to generate signals whose energies can be compared to reconstruct an estimation of the time-varying frequency profile. By matching the known frequency profile with its estimation, the detector can provide the information about whether a replay attack is being carried out or not. The design of the signal generator and the detector are thoroughly discussed, and an example based on a quadruple-tank process is used to show the application and effectiveness of the proposed method.


control theory.

Author keywords

Cyber-physical systems, cyber-attacks, replay attacks, signal generator, detector logic.

Scientific reference

H.S. Sánchez, D. Rotondo, T. Escobet, V. Puig, J. Saludes and J. Quevedo. Detection of replay attacks in cyber-physical systems using a frequency-based signature. Journal of the Franklin Institute, 356(5): 2798-2824, 2019.