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Research Topic Description, including Problem Statement:
The present-day era of cybersecurity is largely defined by defense from hostile code interventions (such as ransomware and viruses) and hostile intrusion through weak access controls. We believe that many present-day cyber-physical systems will evolve towards large scale, highly interdependent, collectives of agents having emergent properties. We therefore expect future cybersecurity challenges to evolve to include defense from malicious agency.
We believe that emergence is a consequence of interaction/interdependency between agents (cyber-physical components), and that the properties, although absent in the individuals, exists in the collective. These are complex systems. The nature of emergence drives us towards the use of models of agency for the cybersecurity of collectives because of the symmetrical relationship between attacker and defender – we assert that future cyber conflict will partly lie in the emergent space of complex systems. Complex systems are nonlinear, emergent, with diverse internal components, use feedback mechanisms, are autonomous in behavior, adaptive, and capable of learning. They use intensive internal communications to balance system cohesion with the forces of adaptability, and to work as a collective towards a common goal. They are unstable and may alternate unpredictably between seemingly random and stable patterns of behavior. This makes complex cyber-physical systems vulnerable to cyberattack in new ways, but we think the emergent properties are also a potential asset in responding to this threat - malicious agency could be countered by benevolent agency.
Biology provides the following inspiration:
 Ted Carmichael (Editor), Andrew J. Collins (Editor), Mirsad Hadžikadic (Editor), Complex Adaptive Systems: Views from the Physical, Natural, and Social Sciences (Understanding Complex Systems), Springer; 1st ed. 2019 edition (27 Jun. 2019), ISBN-13: 978-3030203078
 Scott Camazine (Author), Jean-Louis Deneubourg (Author), Nigel R. Franks (Author), Self-Organization in Biological Systems: 38 (Princeton Studies in Complexity), Princeton University Press (17 Sept. 2003), ISBN-13: 978-0691116242
 Stamatis Karnouskos, Chapter 6 - Industrial Agents Cybersecurity, Editor(s): Paulo Leitão, Stamatis Karnouskos, Industrial Agents, Morgan Kaufmann, 2015, Pages 109-120, ISBN 9780128003411, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-800341-1.00006-1. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128003411000061)
Key Words: Cybersecurity, Cyber Systems, Emergence, Complex Systems