Dr Elena Sitnikova
Field: Cyber Security
Project Title: A Cyber-Physical Approach to Improve Mission Assurance for Remotely-Operated Aerial Systems and Aircraft Payloads
The modern networked Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) operates multiple complex mission-critical systems including legacy systems interconnected by multi-dimensional communication systems. This complex integrated and networked system-of-systems must operate in an environment with diverse, growing and evolving cyber threats. Understanding designs for improving the resilience of Air Force networked systems to cyber-attacks is essential for the new generation Air Force to meet the mission to “fly, fight and win - in air, space and cyberspace”.
The increasing prevalence of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the military and civilian sectors, has been accompanied by an increase in sophisticated malicious activities. This project suggests a new resilient cyber-physical UAV Distributed Anomaly Detection (UAV-DAD) framework for detecting intrusive activities of UAVs, using the principle of anomaly-based detection to effectively recognise both existing and unknown attacks. Research outcomes to be shared with the RAAF will further the collaborative research and the proposed framework. The collaboration will promote greater awareness of cyber security in autonomous operations and related confidentiality-integrity-availability (CIA-triad) issues across the Australian Defence Force while providing guidance on how, through anomaly detection, to identify malicious attacks in ways that will make mission-critical systems resilient to cyber-attacks.
Dr Sitnikova is an internationally recognised leader in Critical Infrastructure Protection research, with particular expertise in complex systems and networks, the key areas of cyber-physical systems security and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Dr Sitnikova combines her expert knowledge and experience in cyber security, signals, control systems, systems and software engineering, with a sophisticated approach to quality assurance, and a highly developed understanding of cyber security educational strategies.
Dr Sitnikova has worked extensively in the IT industry and academia, in Australia and overseas, and has established an international research reputation in critical infrastructure cyber security. In recognition of her expert capabilities, as well as her position at UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy, she also holds the position of Adjunct Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). As a UNSW PLuS Alliance Fellow she is expanding her research and education collaborations internationally with Arizona State University (USA) and King’s College London (UK).