Spoofing GPS Receiver Clock Offset of Phasor Measurement Units

Jiang, X., Zhang, J., Harding, B., Makela, J., Dominguez-Garcia, A.D.

IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, vol.28, no.3, pp.3253,3262, Aug. 2013.

Visit Publisher Online Entry:

We demonstrate the feasibility of a spoofing attack on the GPS receiver of a phasor measurement unit (PMU). We formulate the attack as an optimization problem where the objective is to maximize the difference between the PMU's receiver clock offset (with respect to the GPS time measured by the onboard satellite clocks) before and after the attack. Since the PMU uses this clock offset to compute a synchronized time stamp for its measurements, an error in the receiver clock offset introduces a proportional phase error in the voltage or current phase measurements provided by the PMU. For the most general case, the decision variables in the optimization problem are the satellites' ephemerides, pseudoranges, and the receiver's Earth-Centered Earth-Fixed (ECEF) coordinates. The constraints are cast such that the decision variables and the satellite positions computed from the solution of the optimization problem are close to their pre-attack values, so as to avoid possible detection schemes that check for large jumps in the values of these variables. We show that the spoofing attack is feasible for any number of visible satellites. As an illustration of the impact of such spoofing attacks, we present simulation results in which the attack induces errors in a real-time voltage stability monitoring algorithm that relies on the phase information from measurements provided by PMUs.

Publication Status:
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Publication Date:
Copyright Notice:

This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

  1. The following copyright notice applies to all of the above items that appear in IEEE publications: "Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/publish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from IEEE."

  2. The following copyright notice applies to all of the above items that appear in ACM publications: "© ACM, effective the year of publication shown in the bibliographic information. This file is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in the journal or proceedings indicated in the bibliographic data for each item."

  3. The following copyright notice applies to all of the above items that appear in IFAC publications: "Document is being reproduced under permission of the Copyright Holder. Use or reproduction of the Document is for informational or personal use only."