Operational Technology on Construction Sites: A Review from the Cybersecurity Perspective

Muammer Semih Sonkor, Borja García De Soto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The digital transformation in the construction industry affects how information is exchanged and disrupts the way construction sites operate. The levels of operational technology (OT) to control and monitor site activities by utilizing robotic, autonomous, and remotely controlled machines raise cybersecurity concerns. As construction sites are places where humans and machines work together, the potential safety outcomes of cybersecurity vulnerabilities are magnified. This study's motivation was to understand the current state of the art and identify gaps to suggest future directions regarding OT in construction from the cybersecurity perspective. To achieve that, a bibliometric analysis was conducted. The analysis utilized the Scopus database to retrieve related publications and VOSviewer version 1.6.15 software to visualize bibliometric networks. Main research themes were identified, and each theme was reviewed from a cybersecurity perspective. The limitations of the analysis include the lack of industry-based categorization, the domination of publications focusing on the cybersecurity of industrial control systems (ICSs), and the set of keyword combinations used for the literature search that could be expanded to cover a broader range of research topics. The findings reveal the lack of focus on the construction phase in the construction cybersecurity research. Moreover, cybersecurity aspects are absent in the construction automation studies, and there is a need for bespoke threat modeling and intrusion detection systems for all the phases of construction projects. Suggestions for further research on the potential threats against the construction phase are provided. Future directions include possible adaptations of the available cybersecurity frameworks considering the utilization of OT on construction sites and investigating the methods to evaluate security levels on construction sites and countermeasures against cyberattacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04021172
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • Construction 4.0
  • Cyber-physical systems (CPS)
  • Cybersecurity
  • Industrial control systems (ICS)
  • Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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