Evaluation and Comparison of Multicast Message Authentication Protocols for Use in Power Grid Applications

Manivannan, T.

Master's Thesis. School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Washington State University, December 2011.


Critical infrastructures such as smart grid require efficient and reliable data delivery services (DDS) for today’s and future needs of power system monitoring control applications. Data delivery services have to meet the real time requirements of the smart grid with minimum latency and also provide availability of data at multiple locations using multicast message authentication schemes. All known multicast message authentication approaches carry trade-offs between quality-of-service (QoS) aspects such as added latency, computational cost, and the precise authentication guarantees that they afford.

This paper surveys several multi-cast authentication approaches for use in a power grid DDS based on an experimental evaluation of their latency and computational costs and an assessment of the appropriateness of their authentication guarantees for use in power grid applications. Furthermore, the discussion involves the experimental analysis of different cryptographic primitives for latency and the applicability of different algorithms for data delivery services in smart grid applications. The use of time synchronized protocols such as TESLA are discussed and the latency incurred by them compared to other cryptographic primitives is discussed.

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