Cyber-Physical Security for the Smart Grid

Presented By:
Deepa Kundur, Texas A&M University, NERC Smart Grid Task Force
Date and Location:
Friday, November 11, 2011 - 1:00pm
NCSA Auditorium | Webcast
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The scale and complexity of the smart grid, along with its increased connectivity and automation, make the task of its cyber protection challenging. Recently, smart grid researchers and standards bodies have begun to develop technological requirements and potential solutions for protecting cyber infrastructure. However, grid protection remains daunting to asset owners because of resources limitations. Important questions arise when identifying priorities for design and protection: Which cyber components, if compromised, can lead to significant power delivery disruption? What grid topologies are inherently robust to classes of cyber attack? Is the additional information available through advanced information technology worth the increased security risk? We assert that a key research challenge in addressing these fundamental questions lies in the effective understanding of the cyber-physical synergy of the smart grid. This gives rise to the problem of cyber-physical system security. In this talk, we introduce this emerging problem in the context of the smart grid and present a dynamical systems approach for modeling cyber-physical interactions. We demonstrate how our approach enables the identification of non-cookie-cutter vulnerabilities and the evaluation of the relative impacts of cyber attacks on the flow of electricity. The overall framework facilitates more comprehensive risk analysis and guidelines for secure smart grid development.


Deepa Kundur received the B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees all in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1993, 1995, and 1999, respectively, from the University of Toronto, Canada. In January 2003, she joined the Department of Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University where she is an Associate Professor. Before joining Texas A&M, she was an Assistant Professor at the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto where she was the Bell Canada Junior Chair-holder in Multimedia and an Associate Member of the Nortel Institute for Telecommunications.

Dr. Kundur's research interests include cybersecurity of the electric smart grid, cyber-physical system theory, security and privacy of social and sensor networks, multimedia security, and computer forensics. She is an appointed member of the NERC Smart Grid Task Force, an elected member of the IEEE Information Forensics and Security Technical Committee and has been on the editorial boards of IEEE Communication Letters, IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, and EURASIP Journal on Information Security. She has been the recipient of the 2005 Tenneco Meritorious Teaching award, the 2006 Association of Former Students College Level Teaching award, and the 2007 Outstanding Professor Award in the ECE Department.

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About the TCIPG Seminar Series:

The seminar series is presented by the Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid (TCIPG) Project, an $18 million multi-university research effort whose partner institutions include the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Arizona State University, Dartmouth, and Washington State University. The TCIPG Project, a successor to the earlier NSF-funded TCIP Center, was founded in 2009 with support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is housed in the Information Trust Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.