Transparent End-to-End Security for Publish/Subscribe Communication in Cyber-Physical Systems


The ongoing digitization of industrial manufacturing leads to a decisive change in industrial communication paradigms. Moving from traditional one-to-one to many-to-many communication, publish/subscribe systems promise a more dynamic and efficient exchange of data. However, the resulting significantly more complex communication relationships render traditional end-to-end security futile for sufficiently protecting the sensitive and safety-critical data transmitted in industrial systems. Most notably, the central message brokers inherent in publish/subscribe systems introduce a designated weak spot for security as they can access all communication messages. To address this issue, we propose ENTRUST, a novel solution for key server-based end-to-end security in publish/subscribe systems. ENTRUST transparently realizes confidentiality, integrity, and authentication for publish/subscribe systems without any modification of the underlying protocol. We exemplarily implement ENTRUST on top of MQTT, the de-facto standard for machine-to-machine communication, showing that ENTRUST can integrate seamlessly into existing publish/subscribe systems.

Proceedings of the 1st ACM Workshop on Secure and Trustworthy Cyber-Physical Systems (SaT-CPS ‘21), April 28, 2021, Virtual Event, USA