ISTRICT: An Interdependent Strategic Trust Mechanism for the Cloud-Enabled Internet of Controlled Things

Jeffrey Pawlick, Juntao Chen, Quanyan Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cloud-enabled Internet of controlled things (IoCT) envisions a network of sensors, controllers, and actuators connected through a local cloud in order to intelligently control physical devices. Because cloud services are vulnerable to advanced persistent threats (APTs), each device in the IoCT must strategically decide whether to trust cloud services that may be compromised. In this paper, we present iSTRICT, an interdependent strategic trust mechanism for the cloud-enabled IoCT. iSTRICT is composed of three interdependent layers. In the cloud layer, iSTRICT uses FlipIt games to conceptualize APTs. In the communication layer, it captures the interaction between devices and the cloud using signaling games. In the physical layer, iSTRICT uses optimal control to quantify the utilities in the higher level games. Best response dynamics link the three layers in an overall "game-of-games," for which the outcome is captured by a concept called Gestalt Nash equilibrium (GNE). We prove the existence of a GNE under a set of natural assumptions and develop an adaptive algorithm to iteratively compute the equilibrium. Finally, we apply iSTRICT to trust management for autonomous vehicles that rely on measurements from remote sources. We show that strategic trust in the communication layer achieves a worst-case probability of compromise for any attack and defense costs in the cyber layer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8543871
Pages (from-to)1654-1669
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Internet of controlled things
  • advanced persistent threats
  • autonomous vehicles
  • cyber-physical systems
  • cybersecurity
  • game-of-games
  • strategic trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'ISTRICT: An Interdependent Strategic Trust Mechanism for the Cloud-Enabled Internet of Controlled Things'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this