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Cyber Security in Smart Grids

Asad Irfan Miss. Nayab Taj

Reg.No:11PWELE4045 Reg.No:11PWELE3971

December 2, 2014

Supervisor: Dr. Sahibzada Ali Mehmood

Department of Electrical Engineering

University of Engineering and Technology
1 Introduction 3
1.1 What is Smart Grid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.2 Communication Infrastructures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.3 Security Challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

2 Motivation and Need 6

3 Related Work 6

4 Problem Statement 8

5 Methodology 8
5.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
5.2 Introduction to Software-Defined Networking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
5.3 Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

6 Project timeline 10

References 11

List of Figures
1 Simplified Architecture of Smart Grid, courtesy of [3] . . . . . . . . . . . 3
2 Communication Infrastructure, courtesy of [6] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
3 Household electricity demand profile recorded on a one minute time base,
courtesy of [5] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
4 Traditional networks versus Software-Defined Networks (SDNs), courtesy
of [12] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

List of Tables
1 Smart Grid Communication Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
2 Project timeline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
3 Project timeline continued . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

1 Introduction
1.1 What is Smart Grid
Smart Grid is an evolution in the old electrical power systems. Up till 21st century, no
significant advancement has been made in the electrical grid system that can cope with
the emerging technologies of todays world. Smart Grid introduces a two-way communi-
cation channel in the old electrical grid between a Smart Home and electric utility using
computer technologies to automate reliability, efficiency, sustainability and give rise to
new grid technologies like renewable energy sources, distributed intelligence, Plug-in elec-
tric vehicles etc. For centuries, utility has to send its workers to consumers in order to
record energy consumption but now with the emergence of Advanced Metering Infrastruc-
ture, meter reading is automated making use of Smart Meters architectured using latest
digital electronic components available in the market. Refer to Figure 1 for a simplified
architecture of Smart Grid.

Figure 1: Simplified Architecture of Smart Grid, courtesy of [3]

1.2 Communication Infrastructures

Up till now, number of scalable and resilient communication infrastructures have been
presented as illustrated in Figure 2. Of them the most prominent ones are Power Line
Communications (PLCs), Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), fiber
optics, and GPS, GSM, WLANs, WiMax, ZigBee in wireless. Refer to Table 1. A new
alliance called HomePlug has significantly matured the PLC technology immunizing the
early flaws in the architecture for the Smart Homes. It enables reliable, plug & play,

wired connections using power lines throughout the home. A new breed in HomePlug
Alliance called AV2 MIMO has given rise to new solutions in order to increase the data
rates so much so that is has been reported faster than Ethernet. HomePlug Green PHY
specification is based on IEEE 1901 Standard and can be adopted for connecting Smart
Home appliances and showing statistics on in-Home display while sending the metering
data to Smart Meter efficiently and securely. It is another technology by HomePlug but
with 75% less power consumption than HomePlug AV with 256Kbps effective networking
throughput and 10 Mbps peak PHY rate. A project called Netricity has been launched
by HomePlug Alliance that is hoped to become a standard for secure metering [10]. It is
worth noting that all versions of HomePlug support IP networking technology [20], [21].
SCADA has been a focus for monitoring/controlling applications. ZigBee based recording
systems allow the consumers to view and manage their power consumption online using
Internet. ZigBee is mostly popular for its low-power, low cost, and has gained significant
popularity in HANs [19]. It is considered an ideal option for meter data recording, use
in meter designs, ad-hoc networks etc [6].

Table 1: Smart Grid Communication Technologies

Technology Spectrum Data Rate Coverage Applicants Limitations
GSM 900 1800 Up to 14.4 1 10 Km AMI, Demand Low Data Rates
MHz Kbps Response, HAN
GPRS 900 1800 Up to 170 1 10 Km AMI, Demand Low Data Rates
MHz Kbps Response, HAN
WiMAX 2.5 GHz, Up to 75 10 50 km AMI, Demand Not Widespread
3.5 GHz, Mbps (LOS) 1 5 Response, HAN
5.8 GHz km (NLOS)
PLC 1 30 MHz 2 3 Mbps 1 3 km AMI, Fraud De- Harsh, noisy
tection channel environ-
ZigBee 2.4 GHz- 250 Kbps 30 50m AMI, HAN Low data rate,
868 915 short range
HomePlug 1.8 MHz to 250 Kbps Home AMI, HAN Short Range
Green PHY 30 MHz Wiring

1.3 Security Challenges

With the advent of Smart Grid and the integration of computer networks with electric
power systems, the threats related to computer networks have been adopted by the Smart
Grid. According to a paper [13], cyber attacks on Smart Grids can be categorized as
1. Device Attacks

2. Data Attacks

3. Privacy Attacks

4. Network Availability Attacks

Figure 2: Communication Infrastructure, courtesy of [6]

The Most important security challenges in Advanced Metering Infrastructure are:

1. Eavesdropping

2. DoS

3. Data Alteration

4. Identity Spoofing

5. Compromised Key

Each of these can be broadly categorized in three groups namely customer attacks,
insider attacks and nation wide attacks. The possible attacks on data security are:

1. Sabotage/insider attacks

2. Viruses and Trojan Horses

A secure Smart Grid network should be able to provide reliable solutions to the fol-
lowing security challenges categorized by [16]

1. Trust

2. Privacy

3. Data Security

4. Availability

5. Non-repudiation

6. Authentication

7. Authorization
New schemes should be adopted that can make the system redundant with automatic
recovery in case of failure. Moreover, preference should always be given to proactive

2 Motivation and Need

The acceptability of Smart Grids and its deployment by home users depends greatly on
the user-privacy and reliability of these networks. User-privacy is an important aspect
because success of Smart Grid networks relies on its wide acceptance by its consumers.
As Smart Meter operates, the energy usage data collected by it is sent to the utility
on timely basis. This data is sent using the communication infrastructure discussed
earlier. Moreover, the Smart Metering data can be divided in two namely Low Frequency
Identification Data (LFID) i.e. privacy-insensitive metering data summary (to the utility)
and High Frequency Identification Data(HFID) i.e. privacy sensitive data (to the control
center) [5]. Although, the size of the energy usage data in Smart Meters is very small but
the threats it imposes specially to the consumer are deadly. A metering data record if
observed carefully can reveal which appliances are being used at home, so much so that
it can also reveal the times when the user is absent from home as illustrated in Figure 3.
Because of the gravity of the matter, this research project will focus on the user-security
in future Smart Grids. Along with it, trust in both parties i.e. utility and consumer must
be ensured. Data sent from the Smart Meters should be reliable enough to be accepted
and there should be no doubts concerning the authenticity, only then secure pricing can
be done.

3 Related Work
Besides the security threats, importance of Smart Grid networks call for the support
from research organization and International community to make the system secure for
the next generation. Each communication technology presents its own benefits that comes
with a few to several security issues that need to be addressed accordingly. Encryption,
anonymity, obfuscation etc. has been used widely. For the annonymization, a signa-
turing technique along with the power plan request system has been presented in this
paper [3], where user has to request his/her plan to utility and he/she can be charged
for the difference. In a scheme presented by the paper [2], in which the attacker uses the
featuring data provided by the network topology and then tries to destroy the full system
for which a fusion based defense strategy has been employed along with the selection
of porcelain based connectivity as a standard for performance analysis. If the Public
Key Infrastructure (PKI) based solutions are used, memory becomes an important is-
sue. For this [4] presented a key management framework called Unified Key Management

Figure 3: Household electricity demand profile recorded on a one minute time base, cour-
tesy of [5]

Function (UKMF) that develops a secure authentication mechanism by the generation of

ciphering keys at different protocol of different communication layer. It becomes useful
because of limited resources of Smart Meters. The reason of its success lies in the fact
that Smart meter parameters are typically with 4 12 kilobytes of RAM and 64 256
kilobytes of flash memory, and are often connected via low-bandwidth links. Besides
PKI solutions, other techniques like anonymization of metering data was utilized in this
research effort [5]. For remote monitoring and energy usage management third parties
can also be involved in Smart Grids [8]. Traditional IT solutions such as VPN, Firewalls,
IDS etc have also been utilized [7]. The data that the control center receives can also be
forged by the home user himself. In order to minimize the effects of accountability and
non-repudiation, the trust of both the parties involved in the communication should be
considered [18]. Authentication can not be guaranteed unless phishing attempts are elim-
inated completely [9] . Third party software managers can also be installed as a software
on energy gateways [15]. It will allow the user to automatically manage security options.
These novel but application and communication infrastructure specific techniques impose
further threats and produces some drawbacks. Most security related schemes results in
the of change their genuine areas, which makes the reported information as though it had
been measured from a random area, presenting clamor or false data in the framework
and to the customer. An alternate critical issue is that of the energy utilization. Protec-
tion safeguarding components waste additional energy and clients are not ready to utilize
Participatory Sensing (PS) applications in the fear of battery loss. [17]. HomePlug AV,
AV2 & GreenPHY protects the communication links using AES-128 Encryption Stan-
dard which was a recommendation by NIST [19], [14]. ZigBee also Utilizes the industry
standard AES-128 security scheme [1].

4 Problem Statement
Threats to the security of the consumer can be both external and internal. Energy
Management System (EMS) installed in the home coordinate with appliances and in
turn also control their behaviors based on Demand Response Programs, load shedding
programs, peak shaving capabilities, and energy exchanges, comes under the internal
division [11]. In the external environment, besides physical security threats, the security
of the AMI System both AMI-Head end and consumer end are concerned. A faulty or
malfunctioned EMS can disturb the whole system & can cause under reporting etc. In
such encounters, an intelligent user might get a clue that will cause him to make any
possible changes in the metering infrastructure to report less form his/her side. On
the other side, an operator in AMI-Head end can increase unit prices without any peak
involvement for the purpose of financial benefits. The security breaches from AMI-Head
end initiates the discussion for a trustworthy third party auditing. So in the above
discussion, our research effort will focus and assure following security goals:

1. Confidentiality: only the authorized user or system will be authorized for the
disclosure of data.

2. Integrity: any sort of unauthorized modification, loss or destruction of data will

not go undefined and accuracy of the data will be guaranteed.

3. Availability: only authorized entities would have the availability of network re-
sources like (data/bandwidth/equipment) always. Moreover, such resources will be
protected against any incident that facilitates security threats.

4. Authenticity: it is to assure that the corresponding party is indeed the one needed
in action, so that no third person can fool the system by identity theft.

5. Authorization: rights of each individual are limited and access control is guar-
anteed. It limits the access of resources to authentic entities. .

6. Non-Repudiation an undeniable statement, proof or agreement will exist between

the coordinating parties.

5 Methodology
5.1 Overview
Keeping in view the latest trends in technology, our approach will be to use a new
networking paradigm called Software-Defined Networking (SDN) for Smart Grids.In the
SDN, we will use a specialized controller called FlowVisor that acts as a transparent
proxy between OpenFlow controller and forwarding devices. This new technology will
be fused along with 5G future networks powering Massive MEMO technology for Multi-
User.The metering data after the division in LFID and HFID will be sent using femtocells
in 5G networks using Home WiFi access point as a local backhaul and through 5G BS
respectively. The adaptive security techniques will be adapted in this heterogeneous

Figure 4: Traditional networks versus Software-Defined Networks (SDNs), courtesy of [12]

5.2 Introduction to Software-Defined Networking

The central idea of SDN lies in the separation of Control Plane from the Data Plane in
networking devices like routers and switches. So a transition was made from a decentral-
ized network to a centralized one that can keep an abstract global view of the complete
network topology as illustrated in Figure 4. In general terms, most often control plane is
called the brain of the switching device where as data plane as muscle. In the old network
architecture, the switching devices would act as both switching & forwarding devices but
with the emergence of SDN, switches will act as just a packet forwarding device. Open
Networking Foundation (ONF) founded and funded by top companies like Google, Cisco
& Juniper is doing tremendous effort in the standardization of such technology. In the
recent years, with the advancement of SDN and protocol standardization by SDN, gave
rise to the mass manufacturing of SDN based switches and routers. There are both Pure-
SDN and Hybrid that are backward compatible with the old technology and are coming
out each day.

5.3 Approach
Our goal will be to use SDN-based routers and switches & by using the re-programmable
functions, we will develop a scheme that will be robust & efficient enough to provide both
privacy and authentication methods covering all the threats presented earlier. In the first
phase of our approach, we will learn about OpenFlow protocols and how do they provide a
feasible Southbound API to forwarding devices along with the formation of flow tables as
defined by our motive. After that, in the second phase, Mininet network emulator will be
used which used a Python API to facilitate the use of Linux light virtualization technology.

Finally, in the last phase, FlowVisor will be used to logically slice the networks that will
enforce the security policies this paper presented earlier. Finally we will document our
work and a research paper will be written according to IEEE standard rules.

6 Project timeline
Following timeline would be followed through out the course of the project.

Table 2: Project timeline

Week Project Goal Expected Completion Date
1 Smart Grids 15/9/2014
2 Cryptography Techniques 22/9/2014
3 Network Security 29/9/2014
4 Study of current solutions to Network Secu- 6/10/2014
5 Review of cyber security issues in Smart 13/10/2014
6 Paper Review of User-Privacy schemes 20/10/2014
7 Paper of Authentication Schemes 27/10/2014
8 Coding in LaTeX 3/11/2014
9 Overview of ZigBee Technology 10/11/2014
10 Application of ZigBee in Smart Grids 17/11/2014
11 Security Technology in ZigBee 24/11/2014
12 ZigBee Security in Smart Grids 1/12/2014
13 Paper Review of ZigBee Security & Smart 8/12/2014
14 Overview of GSM & GPRS 15/12/2014
15 Security Issues in GSM & GPRS 22/12/2014
16 Paper Review of GSM & GPRS Security in 29/12/2014
Smart Grids
17 Advanced Metering Infrastructure 5/1/2015
18 Security Overview in Advanced Metering In- 12/1/2015
19 User-Privacy in AMI Networks 19/1/2015
20 Authentication in AMI Netwokrs 26/1/2015
21 Paper Review of current security issues in 2/2/2015
AMI Networks
22 PLC Technology Overview 9/2/2015
23 Radio Interference Identification 16/2/2015
24 Security Issues in PLC 23/2/2015
25 PLC Application in Smart Grids 2/3/2015
26 HomePlug Alliance & its contribution to 9/3/2015
Smart Grids

Table 3: Project timeline continued
Week Project Goal Expected Completion Date
27 User-Privacy & Authentication by Home- 16/3/2015
Plug Alliance
28 Software-Defined Networking (SDN) 23/3/2015
29 Mininet 30/3/2015
30 Security models using FlowVisor 6/4/2015
31 Result evaluation & Documentation 13/4/2015
32 Research Paper Writing by IEEE Standard 20/4/2015
Rules & Regulations

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