Deakin University and University of Melbourne
Identified Challenge in the Cybersecurity Industry
In recent years, there have been several reported cyber-attacks in the power grid realm. One of the more significant cyber-attacks of our time was in December 2015 where the Ukrainian power grid system experienced large-scale cyber-attacks switching off thirty substations and leaving two hundred and thirty thousand citizens without electricity.
The Australian government acknowledges and understands that cyber risk exposures can and will have significant implications on Australia’s national security and sovereignty. In Australia the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has leveled the increasing threat of cyber-attacks on its power grid system. Maintaining a secured cyber infrastructure is of paramount importance to assure efficient, reliable and secured power system operations. Any unwanted intrusion of cyber infrastructure in a power system can significantly interrupt its function and operations.
Assessment of cyber-security risks are essential in understanding and quantifying cyber vulnerabilities in power systems, which enables the deployment of required security measures to safeguard power system operations.
There is no generic framework available for assessing cyber security risks of power grids. In order to address the issue and this market gap, this project develops a generic framework that can be applied to assess cyber security power grid risks and their exposures in different operating environments and entities.
The proposed framework is developed by considering the potential generation/load curtailments as a result of possible cyber-attacks on the power grid information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.
Just some of the key benefits of the proposed risk assessment framework;
- The framework can be easily adopted by power grid operators to asses cybersecurity risk of their ICT assets;
- transmission network operators
- distribution network operations
- microgrid operators
- energy market operators
- The framework quantifies the cybersecurity risk in terms of possible loss of generation due to cyber intrusion which can be translated into a monetary loss.
- The framework can provide grid operators a means to rank the cyber vulnerabilities allowing the power grid operators to better understand the required defence mechanisms for their cyber vulnerabilities.
If you would like more information on this project, Enamul is the project lead and can be contacted on email.
The Proof of Concept Project Team have developed a risk assessment framework in the MATLAB platform that can quantify cybersecurity risk of a power grid, if the related information like the cyber infrastructure, generation, demand and network topology are provided. The project was entirely focused for power grid however the risk assessment framework is applicable to water distribution companies also.
There has been a small scale prototype microgrid developed at Deakin University laboratory to study cyber-attack vulnerabilities, impacts and associated risks.
Several articles are under preparation and will be submitted soon for review in reputed journals. Titles of the under-preparation articles are listed below:
- Project Report – “A Real-Time Testbed for Cyber Security Risk Assessment and Mitigation to Ensure the Resiliency of Microgrids”, 2019
- Journal paper – “An Assessment Framework to Evaluate Cyber Security Risks in Power Systems” Under Preparation
- Journal paper – “A Comprehensive Review of Cyber Physical Power Grid: Threats, Vulnerabilities and Mitigation Regimes” Under Preparation.