Is Your Construction Site Secure? A View From the Cybersecurity Perspective

M. S. Sonkor, B. García de Soto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The construction industry is increasingly using information technologies (IT) and operational technologies (OT) to enhance processes and operations through digitalization. Creating, editing, storing, and sharing information in digital environments is only one side of the coin; the other involves monitoring and controlling physical processes on construction sites. Given the nature of construction sites, where humans and machines/equipment work collaboratively, safety concerns arise. Utilizing interconnected and cyber-physical systems such as (semi)autonomous and remote-controlled machines on-site magnifies the importance of robust cybersecurity. Therefore, it becomes necessary to understand the threats against each networked equipment, analyze the vulnerabilities, assess the risks, and provide mitigation methods. Cybersecurity frameworks are effective solutions for this purpose; however, they are usually generic and thus require customization to be employed in the construction site environment. Against this background, this paper reviews existing cybersecurity frameworks/standards and selects the most suitable one to implement in the construction environment. The implementation was performed by customizing the selected generic framework considering the needs of a hypothetical construction site that utilizes autonomous earthmoving equipment. For the evaluation, a scoring system that was not included in the original framework was proposed. Given the paucity of studies in this field and lack of cybersecurity awareness in the construction industry, this study aims (1) to raise awareness about the potential cyber threats against construction sites that are increasingly interconnected, (2) to point out the need for a customized cyber assessment method on-site, and (3) help building a security-minded approach within the construction industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 38th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, ISARC 2021
EditorsChen Feng, Thomas Linner, Ioannis Brilakis
PublisherInternational Association for Automation and Robotics in Construction (IAARC)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9789526952413
StatePublished - 2021
Event38th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, ISARC 2021 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: Nov 2 2021Nov 4 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction
ISSN (Electronic)2413-5844


Conference38th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, ISARC 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates


  • Autonomous Earthmoving Equipment
  • Construction 4.0
  • Cyber-Physical Systems
  • Cybersecurity
  • Cybersecurity Frameworks
  • Vulnerability Assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications


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