About OSNA

The Open Sensor Network Authentication (OSNA) group is a cybersecurity research group, based in the Discipline of IT at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). Over the last few years, a core group of researchers have developed a substantial research / centre of excellence capability in cybersecurity, applied to all forms of control systems and sensor networks. The team brings 25+ years of industrial and academic experience in real-time embedded systems, distributed systems, networking technologies, power / control / medical systems and cybersecurity.

Industrial control systems are an integral part of critical infrastructure worldwide, helping facilitate operations in vital sectors such as electricity, oil, gas, water, transportation and chemical. These utilities and industrial sectors are the subject of increasing cyber-attacks. A number of major bodies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), NERC etc., have all highlighted fundamental risks and vulnerabilities to these critical infrastructures. These vulnerabilities are being exacerbated by interconnection to smart grid and enterprise networks. Security for M2M communication across a range of industries and utilities (which use various SCADA protocols, Modbus, Zigbee or other) is often neglected or not appropriately implemented. As a result, there are often significant security weaknesses around network access & intrusion detection, device and message authentication and message encryption. In particular insufficient authentication and /or encryption in an M2M network poses significant cyber security risks, i.e. situations where unsolicited devices either from inside or outside of the network compromise the stability and integrity of the network, by injecting unsolicited control messages into a control system.

We are currently researching and developing a range of products and services that are tailored to the network protocols and architectures used in the above M2M communication areas, thereby covering a range of wired and wireless industry standards.

Our research combines power systems and control system knowledge with emerging network security techniques. Our envisaged solutions provide threat management, threat detection and threat avoidance, therefore covering the length and breadth of cybersecurity.

Our technology is based both on proprietary and open source elements, therefore combining the strength of industry-adopted and established technologies with M2M communication specific unique features.

OSNA is currently funded as a 2-year Commercialisation Fund project by Enterprise Ireland.

It is envisaged that this core research group will form a spin out company from NUIG over the course of the next 12 to 18 months.