We are witnessing the rapid development and adoption of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). CPS refers to the integration of digital and internetworked components, and physical devices in systems that affect nearly everyone in society. These devices are always connected to the internet. This connectivity gives CPS devices the capability of being in continuous monitoring mode where data and information are delivered to device owners through a proxy server. These capabilities open up all kinds of security issues for a device that has been built with such features with little regard for security considerations. At present, many Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) graduates are not fully comprehending the security impact of device connectivity. STEM students are graduating without awareness of cybersecurity or cyber-physical systems security issues/challenges and without being aware of the security issues related to algorithms or systems they are designing. This state of affairs is a consequence of the fact that security awareness is currently not part of the curriculum.
In this paper we highlight a cybersecurity program at Boise State University that includes an introductory class on CPS security. Some topics included in this course are: information technology versus operation technology, cryptography, industrial control systems, smart grid, CAN bus, risk assessment, red versus blue team, and Kali Linux. In this paper, we provide examples on how students’ knowledge of CPS security changes over the course of the program, how students are supported in and out of the classroom towards advancing their knowledge in this field. We also highlight the impact that project-based and team coordinated learning can have on increasing students’ understanding of the fundamentals of CPS security.
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