Research Brief

A survey of cybersecurity of digital manufacturing




This survey was led by Nikhil Gupta, professor mechanical and aerospace engineering and a member of the NYU Center for Cybersecurity; and Ramesh Karri, professor of electrical and computer engineering and co-founder and co-Chair of the NYU Center for Cybersecurity.

The Industry 4.0 concept promotes a digital manufacturing (DM) paradigm that can enhance quality and productivity, which reduces inventory and the lead time for delivering custom, batch-of-one products based on achieving convergence of additive, subtractive, and hybrid manufactur- ing machines, automation and robotic systems, sensors, com- puting, and communication networks, artificial intelligence, and big data. A DM system consists of embedded electronics, sensors, actuators, control software, and interconnectivity to enable the machines and the components within them to exchange data with other machines, components therein, the plant operators, the inventory managers, and customers. 

Digitalization of manufacturing aided by advances in sensors, artificial intelligence, robotics, and networking technology is revolutionizing the traditional manufacturing industry by rethinking manufacturing as a service.

Concurrently, there is a shift in demand from high-volume manufacturing to batches-of-one, custom manufacturing of products. While the large manufacturing enterprises can reallocate resources and transform themselves to seize these opportunities, the medium-scale enterprises (MSEs) and small-scale enterprises with limited resources need to become federated and proactively deal with digitalization. Many MSEs essentially consist of general-purpose machines that give them the flexibility to execute a variety of process plans and workflows to create one-off products with complex shapes, textures, properties, and functionalities. One way the MSEs can stay relevant in the next-generation digital manufacturing (DM) environment is to become fully interconnected with other MSEs by using the digital thread and becoming part of a larger, cyber-manufacturing business network. This allows the MSEs to make their resources visible to the market and continue to serve as suppliers to OEMs and other parts of the manufacturing supply networks.

This article, whose authors include researchers from NYU Tandon and Texas A&M, explores the cybersecurity risks in the emerging DM context, assesses the impact on manufacturing, and identifies approaches to secure DM. It resents a hybrid-manufacturing cell, a building block of DM, and uses it to discuss vulnerabilities; discusses a taxonomy of threats for DM; explores attack case studies; surveys existing taxonomies in DM systems; and demonstrates how novel manufacturing-unique defenses can mitigate the attacks.

The team's research is supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation.