Duminda Wijesekera, Acting Chair, Cyber Security Engineering, and Nirup Menon, Professor, Area Chair, and Dean’s Scholar, Information Systems and Operations Management, received funding from the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority for the project: “5G Multi-Access Mobile Edge Server Based Security and Learning for Smart Building.”
Modern buildings strive to enhance resilience and meet environmental goals such as net zero energy and carbon emissions. Existing building systems use disparate networks (e.g., BACnet, LonTalk, ZigBee, Bluetooth, WIFI, IP) to connect with subsystems such as HVAC, elevators, lighting, and to physical security systems that open and close doors, garages, and provide access to access-controlled floors using elevators. These independently controlled systems use proprietary protocols and cloud-based services. Two major cybersecurity problems that arise from this are the lack of overall security governance localized to the building operators’ infrastructure and the inability to securely communicate between systems. This, in turn, affects the ability to optimize the cyber-physical security posture, and to optimize energy usage by opening a uniform secure platform to incorporate newer technologies such as solar rooftops, and vehicle-to-grid and grid-to-vehicle charging based on price fluctuations during the time of day.
To develop and exploit a uniform secure platform, the researchers are working to address two issues: 1) a uniform identity and cryptographic system that enhances security for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices and cyber-physical systems that service large buildings; and 2) the ability to quickly and fully operate the building from a dedicated server inside the building that provides control to the building operator.
The researchers received $30,000 from the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority for this project. Funding began in November 2021 and will end in late February 2022.
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