CPINDEX: Cyber-Physical Vulnerability Assessment for Power-Grid Infrastructures

Berthier, R., Srivastava, A., Vellaithurai, C., Zonouz, S.,

IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, December 2014.

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To protect complex power-grid control networks, power operators need efficient security assessment techniques that take into account both cyber side and the power side of the cyber-physical critical infrastructures. In this paper, we present CPINDEX, a security-oriented stochastic risk management technique that calculates cyber-physical security indices to measurethe security level of the underlying cyber-physical setting. CPINDEX installs appropriate cyber-side instrumentation probes on individual host systems to dynamically capture and profile low-level system activities such as inter-process communications among operating system assets. CPINDEX uses the generated logs along with the topological information about the power network configuration to build stochastic Bayesian network models of the whole cyber-physical infrastructure and update them dynamically based on the current state of the underlying power system. Finally, CPINDEX implements belief propagation algorithms on the created stochastic models combined with a novel graphtheoretic power system indexing algorithm to calculate the cyberphysical index, i.e., to measure the security-level of the system’s current cyber-physical state. The results of our experiments with actual attacks against a real-world power control network shows that CPINDEX, within few seconds, can efficiently compute the numerical indices during the attack that indicate the progressing malicious attack correctly.

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