Computation and Communication Evaluation of an Authentication Mechanism for Time-Triggered Networked Control Systems


In modern networked control applications, confidentiality and integrity are important features to address in order to prevent against attacks. Moreover, network control systems are a fundamental part of the communication components of current cyber-physical systems (e.g., automotive communications). Many networked control systems employ Time-Triggered (TT) architectures that provide mechanisms enabling the exchange of precise and synchronous messages. TT systems have computation and communication constraints, and with the aim to enable secure communications in the network, it is important to evaluate the computational and communication overhead of implementing secure communication mechanisms. This paper presents a comprehensive analysis and evaluation of the effects of adding a Hash-based Message Authentication (HMAC) to TT networked control systems. The contributions of the paper include (1) the analysis and experimental validation of the communication overhead, as well as a scalability analysis that utilizes the experimental result for both wired and wireless platforms and (2) an experimental evaluation of the computational overhead of HMAC based on a kernel-level Linux implementation. An automotive application is used as an example, and the results show that it is feasible to implement a secure communication mechanism without interfering with the existing automotive controller execution times. The methods and results of the paper can be used for evaluating the performance impact of security mechanisms and, thus, for the design of secure wired and wireless TT networked control systems.