Pitt | Swanson Engineering
POSTPONED - Invited Graduate Seminar - Dr. Carol Smidts (April 01, 2022)
POSTPONED - Invited Graduate Seminar - Dr. Carol Smidts (April 01, 2022)
April 01, 2022 | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM | Virtual

Detection and Response for Cyberattacks in Nuclear Power Plants

Date: 4/1/2022 Time: 11:00 AM Location: Virtual
Dr. Carol Smidts



Digital systems have been increasingly used in nuclear power plants. This improves the efficiency of nuclear energy but exposes nuclear power plants to the threats of cyber-attacks, in addition to the problems caused by both software and hardware component failures. To improve the cybersecurity posture of nuclear energy, it is important to develop effective methods for cyberattack detection, cyberattack response, and cybersecurity risk assessment. In particular, it is important to distinguish a cyber-attack from a safety event caused by component failure, so that correct remedial actions can be taken. Dynamic Bayesian Networks (DBNs) provide a framework to probabilistically infer the state of the system and differentiate the nature of abnormal events using both physical sensor measurements and network data. DBNs also provide interpretability in the inference process. Compared with regular events, for example, those caused by pure hardware failures, the presence of malicious attackers in cyberattacks significantly increases the complexity of incident response. This is because the evolution and consequence of a cybersecurity event depend not only on actions taken by plant operators but also on actions taken by the attackers. Game theory provides a suitable technique to study the interaction among multiple players. In this seminar, the speaker will discuss a DBNs based abnormal event classifier and how game theory can be applied to nuclear power plant cyberattack response modeling and real-time cybersecurity risk update.


Dr. Carol Smidts is a Full Professor at The Ohio State University, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nuclear Engineering Program. Professor Smidts’ research lies risk and reliability analysis and in human factors-instrumentation and control, including human reliability analysis, probabilistic analysis of dynamics for complex systems, reliability analysis of digital instrumentation and control systems, software reliability modeling and software test automation, and distributed test facility design. She is the author of more than 175 refereed journal and conference publications, is the recipient of multiple awards and 3 patents. Dr. Smidts’ research has been sponsored by Government (DOE, AFSOR, AFRL, NRC, NASA, NSF, FAA, DOD, NSA) as well as by industry (Texas Instruments, IBM). She is an IEEE Fellow, and was the conference co-Chair of the IEEE International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering (2006 and 2013), IEEE High Assurance Systems Engineering (2008), is an Associate Editor for Software Testing Verification and Reliability, was Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions in Reliability (2008-2016), was one of  Technical Program Committee Co-Chairs of NPIC-HMIT 2019, is the Program Chair of 2021 International Topical Meeting on Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Analysis (PSA 2021), is the  Vice Chair of ANS’ Human Factors Instrumentation and Control Division (HFICD), and is a regular member on review panels (DOE, NSF, FDA, ISSRE, HASE, DSN). 



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