Center for Petroleum Security Research

Office of Sponsored Research

Center for Petroleum Security Research (CPSR) at the University of Texas at Tyler is established by a grant from Department of Justice and aims to become a reference point for cyber crimes in the petroleum industry in the US mid-west area. Petroleum Industry extensively deploys computer based monitoring and control systems known as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems to collect, store, analyze and control data related to its distributed facilities from central locations.

SCADA systems are central to the cyber infrastructure that the petroleum industry deploys for managing its entire operation ranging from oil exploration to distribution to the neighborhood gas station. Since these infrastructures cover large geographical areas, many pieces of individual equipment, and a network of pipelines, computer-based monitoring and control is integral to the system. However, such SCADA systems are extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks. Securing these SCADA systems is a major priority for the oil and gas industry and a national security concern.

Focus of CPSR's research will be vulnerability assessment, associated risk assessment, and techniques for improving SCADA security. CPSR will play an important role in identifying essential characteristics of SCADA systems, their vulnerabilities, measures for preventing attacks, and procedures for recovering from disasters, so that overall security of this critical infrastructure can be significantly improved. CPSR will be staffed with interdisciplinary scientists and industry experts who specialize in SCADA system security research.

Chief research activities at CPSR are:

PetroSecT Testbed: Industry needs a reliable testbed for certifying their SCADA products - CPSR proposes to set up the Petroleum Security Testbed (PetroSecT) for this purpose.

Reliable and Secure Wireless Networks: Networks, especially wireless networks used in SCADA systems need to be reliable and secure – CPSR developed the RESILIENT protocol for this purpose.

Adaptable and Secure SCADA Design: SCADA systems need to be systematically designed so that they are adaptable and secure at the same time – CPSR has developed the adaptable security framework (ADSEC) for this purpose.