Skip to main content

Research Repository

See what's under the surface

Advanced Search

Threats on the horizon: Understanding security threats in the era of cyber-physical systems

Walker-Roberts, Steven; Hammoudeh, Mohammad; Aldabbas, Omar; Aydin, Mehmet; Dehghantanha, Ali


Steven Walker-Roberts

Mohammad Hammoudeh

Omar Aldabbas

Profile Image

Dr Mehmet Aydin
Senior Lecturer in Networks and Mobile Computing

Ali Dehghantanha


Disruptive innovations of the last few decades, such as smart cities and Industry 4.0, were made possible by higher integration of physical and digital elements. In today's pervasive cyber-physical systems, connecting more devices introduces new vulnerabilities and security threats. With increasing cybersecurity incidents, cybersecurity professionals are becoming incapable of addressing what has become the greatest threat climate than ever before. This research investigates the spectrum of risk of a cybersecurity incident taking place in the cyber-physical-enabled world using the VERIS Community Database. The findings were that the majority of known actors were from the US and Russia, most victims were from western states and geographic origin tended to reflect global affairs. The most commonly targeted asset was information, with the majority of attack modes relying on privilege abuse. The key feature observed was extensive internal security breaches, most often a result of human error. This tends to show that access in any form appears to be the source of vulnerability rather than incident specifics due to a fundamental trade-off between usability and security in the design of computer systems. This provides fundamental evidence of the need for a major reevaluation of the founding principles in cybersecurity.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Journal of Supercomputing
Print ISSN 1573-0484
Electronic ISSN 1573-0484
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Walker-Roberts, S., Hammoudeh, M., Aldabbas, O., Aydin, M., & Dehghantanha, A. (in press). Threats on the horizon: Understanding security threats in the era of cyber-physical systems. Journal of Supercomputing,
Publisher URL


Threats on the horizon: understanding security threats in the era of cyber‑physical systems (1.4 Mb)


Copyright Statement
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the
source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations