Catch You if Pay Attention: Temporal Sensor Attack Diagnosis Using Attention Mechanisms for Cyber-Physical Systems

Zifan Wang, Lin Zhang, Qinru Qiu, Fanxin Kong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


In Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), sensor data integrity is crucial since acting on malicious sensor data can cause serious consequences, given the tight coupling between cyber components and physical systems. While extensive works focus on sensor attack detection, attack diagnosis that aims to find out when the attack starts has not been well studied yet. This temporal sensor attack diagnosis problem is equally important because many recovery methods rely on the accurate determination of trustworthy historical data. To address this problem, we propose a lightweight data-driven solution to achieve real-time sensor attack diagnosis. Our novel solution consists of five modules, with the attention and diagnosis ones as the core. The attention module not only helps accurately predict future sensor measurements but also computes statistical attention scores for the diagnosis module. Based on our unique observation that the score fluctuates sharply once an attack launches, the diagnosis module determines the onset of an attack through monitoring the fluctuation. Evaluated on high-dimensional high-fidelity simulators and a testbed, our solution demonstrates robust and accurate temporal diagnosis results while incurring millisecond-level computational overhead on Raspberry Pi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication44th IEEE Real-Time Systems Symposium, RTSS 2023
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9798350328578
StatePublished - 2023
Event44th IEEE Real-Time Systems Symposium, RTSS 2023 - Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: Dec 5 2023Dec 8 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings - Real-Time Systems Symposium
ISSN (Print)1052-8725


Conference44th IEEE Real-Time Systems Symposium, RTSS 2023
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China


  • cyber-physical systems
  • detection
  • diagnosis
  • real-time
  • sensor attacks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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