Security and Reliability in the Internet of Things (IoT)

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3 Credits


Learning Objectives
By the end of this course, it is expected that the students will be able to:

  • Understand the sources of reliability issues and security attacks in IoT systems
  • Appreciate the trade-offs between reliability/security and performance/power
  • Evaluate state of art techniques to analyze the reliability and security of IoT systems
  • Design and Implement reliability and security techniques for IoT devices


Detailed Course Outline

We are surrounded by embedded computing devices all around us, from smart devices in our homes and offices, to infotainment systems in our cars. As the world moves towards increasing connectivity, it is increasingly common for these devices to be connected to the Internet. This connectivity opens up tremendous opportunities to improve our quality of lives. For example, many homes already have devices such as smart meters and smart thermostats, which can obtain real-time information about both energyprices and weather forecasts from the Internet to ensure that the temperature settings are automatically set to their optimal values. Collectively, these interconnected embedded devices are known as the Internet of Things. A recent study by Gartner has estimated that there will be over 20 billion IoT devices by 2020.

Unfortunately, the connected nature of IoT devices renders them vulnerable to accidental faults and malicious attacks. Because we depend on these devices for our day-to-day activities, their failures can cripple our daily lives, and in some cases, lead to devastating consequences. An example is the failure of the Nest™ thermostat in January 2016 after a routine software upgrade, which literally left many users “in the cold”. Even more importantly, these devices are targets for malicious attackers who want to wreak harm on society for financial gains or for personal ends. Recently, there have been numerous instances of security attacks on smart meters, modern cars, and even on life-critical medical devices such as pacemakers and insulin pumps.


  1. The aim of this course is to provide graduate students with knowledge and hands-on experience in understanding the reliability and security techniques for IoT systems and analyzing them, 
  2. reading and critically evaluating research papers in this area, and
  3. completing an independent research project which will involve synthesizing multiple techniques and applying them to a real IoT system or device (TBD).


Texts and Bibliography
There is no required textbook for the course. Reading material (mostly published papers) and lecture notes
will be made available through the course website.The following textbooks are recommended:

  1. Lee and Seshia, Introduction to Embedded Systems, A Cyber-Physical Systems Approach
  2. Phil Koopman, Better Embedded System Software.


Assessment Strategies
The format of the course is formal lectures interspersed with seminar presentations and discussions.
Active class participation and seminar presentation and discussions will form part of the assessment.
Assignments will include implementing reliability and security techniques in an IoT System.
The project is an opportunity for hands-on experience in IoT reliability and security research techniques. It involves literature survey, working with different software tools, performing experiments, and writing a report.


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