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Coordinated Variable Structure Switching Attacks for Smart Grid
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The effective modeling and analysis of large-scale power system disturbances especially those stemming from intentional attack represents an open engineering and research problem. Challenges stem from the need to develop intelligent models of cyber-physical attacks that produce salient disruptions and appropriately describe meaningful cyber-physical interdependencies such that they balance precision, scale and complexity. In our research, we present a foundation for the development of a class of intelligent cyber-physical attacks termed coordinated variable structure switching attacks whereby opponents aim to destabilize the power grid through con- trolled switching sequence. Such switching is facilitated by cyber-attack and corruption of communication channels and control signals of the associated switch(es). We provide methods and theorems to construct such attack models and demonstrate their utility in the simulation of extensive system disturbances. Our proposed class of cyber-physical switching attacks for smart grid systems has the potential to disrupt large-scale power system operation within a short interval of time. Through successful cyber intrusion, an opponent can remotely apply a state- dependent coordinated switching sequence on one or more relays and circuit breakers of a power system to disrupt operation. Existence of this switching vulnerability is dependent on the local structure of the power grid. Variable structure systems theory is employed to effectively model the cyber-physical aspects of a smart grid and determine the existence of the vulnerability and construct the destabilizing switching attack sequence. We illustrate the utility of the attack approach assess its impact on the different power system test cases including the single machine infinite bus power system model and the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) 3-machine 9-bus system through MATLAB/Simulink and PSCAD simulation environment. The results demonstrate the potential of our approach for practical attack. Moreover, we build on our work in several ways. First, we extend the research to demonstrate an approach to mitigation within the variable structure system frame- work. We demonstrate via small signal analysis how through persistent switching a stable sliding mode can be used to disrupt a dynamical system that seems stable. We also design an approach to vulnerability analysis to assess the feasibility of co-ordinated variable structure switching attacks. Moreover, we study the performance of our attack construction approach when the opponent has imperfect knowledge of the local system dynamics and partial knowledge of the generator state. Based on the system with modeling errors, we study the performance of coordinated variable structure switching attacks in the presence of state estimation. Finally, we illustrate the concepts of attack model within the multiple switching framework, the cascading failure analysis is employed in the New-England 10-machine, 39-bus power system using MATLAB/Simulink and DSATools simulation environment. Our results demonstrate the potential for coordinated variable structure switching attacks to enable large-scale power system disturbances.
Subjectcoordinated switching attacks
power system attacks
smart grid modeling
variable structure systems
cyber-physical system theory
Liu, Shan (2013). Coordinated Variable Structure Switching Attacks for Smart Grid. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from