NoiSense Print: detecting data integrity attacks on sensor measurements using hardware-based fingerprints

Chuadhry Mujeeb Ahmed, Aditya P. Mathur, Martín Ochoa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Fingerprinting of various physical and logical devices has been proposed for uniquely identifying users or devices of mainstream IT systems such as PCs, laptops, and smart phones. However, the application of such techniques in Industrial Control Systems (ICS) is less explored for reasons such as a lack of direct access to such systems and the cost of faithfully reproducing realistic threat scenarios. This work addresses the feasibility of using fingerprinting techniques in the context of realistic ICS related to water treatment and distribution systems. A model-free sensor fingerprinting scheme (NoiSense) and a model-based sensor fingerprinting scheme (NoisePrint) are proposed. Using extensive experimentation with sensors, it is shown that noise patterns due to microscopic imperfections in hardware manufacturing can uniquely identify sensors with accuracy as high as 97%. The proposed technique can be used to detect physical attacks, such as the replacement of legitimate sensors by faulty or manipulated sensors. For NoisePrint, a combined fingerprint for sensor and process noise is created. The difference (called residual), between expected and observed values, i.e., noise, is used to derive a model of the system. It was found that in steady state the residual vector is a function of process and sensor noise. Data from experiments reveals that a multitude of sensors can be uniquely identified with a minimum accuracy of 90% based on NoisePrint. Also proposed is a novel challenge-response protocol that exposes more powerful cyber-attacks, including replay attacks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages35
JournalACM Transactions on Privacy and Security
Issue number1
Early online date28 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020


  • device fingerprinting
  • sensor fingerprinting
  • ICS security
  • machine learning-based intrusion detection
  • attack detection
  • challenge response protocol
  • CPS threat modeling
  • cyber physical systems
  • sensor noise
  • physical attacks
  • sensors security
  • CPS security
  • process noise


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