A Framework for Modeling Cyber-Physical Switching Attacks in Smart Grid
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Security issues in cyber-physical systems are of paramount importance due to the often safety- critical nature of its associated applications. A rst step in understanding how to protect such systems requires an understanding of emergent weaknesses, in part, due to the cyber-physical coupling. In this paper, we present a framework that models a class of cyber-physical switching vulnerabilities in smart grid systems. Variable structure system theory is employed to effectively characterize the cyber-physical interaction of the smart grid and demonstrate how existence of the switching vulnerability is dependent on the local structure of the power grid. We identify and demonstrate how through successful cyber intrusion and local knowledge of the grid an opponent can compute and apply a coordinated switching sequence to a circuit breaker to disrupt operation within a short interval of time. We illustrate the utility of the attack approach empirically on the Western Electricity Coordinating Council three-machine, nine-bus system under both model error and partial state information.
variable structure systems
coordinated switching attacks
DepartmentElectrical and Computer Engineering
Liu, Shan; Mashayekh, Salman; Kundur, Deepa; Zourntos, Takis; Butler-Purry, Karen (2014). A Framework for Modeling Cyber-Physical Switching Attacks in Smart Grid. IEEE. Available electronically from