Substations: Smart Grid & Cyber Security Threats

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Transferring from old energy network to a new technology such as smart grids. It changes the energy industry worldwide to better quality, manageability and performance. It gives us the ability to operate it by communications, monitor and control it. However, using communications in smart grid increase connectivity causing our security to be exposed and make it more challenge to protected. It can be a target for hackers, and cyber terrorism. Thus, it got governments, consumer and industry attention to increase the security.

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There are many updates and researches for smart grid security update. Having a secure smart grid, we need to have a smart grid build in protection system and security to protect customers data. In this paper we discus and study the challenges in smart grid protection, which we analyses the problem and give solutions.


The mix of electrical supply from smart grid with communication networks is bi-directional for power and information flow. This variation of energy network develops the industry for energy and make it easy to use and reliable, better performance, and manageable. Giving bi-directional communication will operate, control power flow, accurate measurement and monitoring. However, smart grid is likely to operate the system with the help of high-tech communication systems. With some of the benefits the communication network brings, it provides privet power control system to the public communication and connect security vulnerabilities. Because of the nature of the smart grid and how it is built, it can be major target for hackers and terrorism. In the other hand smart grid security become the major attention for the government to secure it. Also, its security got the industries as well as consumers. There are many efforts has been taken to work on the smart grid security from governments and industries. Some of the logic domain: service provider, markets, distribution, customer and transmission. The most three important deal with data collection and management where the last four deal with power and data flows in the smart grid. These domains relate to each other through secure communication links as shown in Fig, 1. Fig. 1. The conceptual model for smart grid.


There are various features in which cyber-attacks relay on and risk of these cyber attackers are generally defined by assets threat and vulnerability such that as illustrated in the following fig. 2. In other word, Risk = Assets x Vulnerabilities x Threats. Assets can be described as smart meters, substations, data and network devices. Threats are the outside attacks of the smart grid and it can be also the inside attacks. And Vulnerabilities make the system being expose to the attackers. Minimizing the risk if we have the minimized the expose to the attacker because we can’t minimize the Assets or the threat and make them zero. Minimizing the Vulnerabilities, we can minimize the overall Risk. III. Security Objective in the Smart Grid System It is targeted to fulfill policies during information security. This information security is done using three main pillars which are: confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA) as shown in figure 3. Fig. 3. Security objective by CIA Availability indicates that the smart gird can supply the required information with no security risks. This means that data availability should block any service rejections that leads to blackouts since power systems are probably operating continuously Confidentiality represents privacy in smart girds. In other words, it ensures the access of data to specified personal only while preventing the rest. This is critically important because if the data of power consumption of a certain user is easily accessible to unauthorized people, it will allow them to observe personal information of that user such as the appliances used or whether the user is there or not. Integrity is equally important since it prevents unauthorized personal from changing or modifying the data in a smart grid thus maintaining real-time and accurate systems. Another important aspect of smart grid security is authenticity since it verifies the parties involved which is done through digital signatures. A. Security Requirements In addition to following CIA model, some requirements have to be achieved in smart grid security which are: 1)Self-healing and Resilience Operations in the Smart Grid. Smart grid has a wide-open network that extends on huge areas thus it is very hard to secure every single node from attacks which means that there should be a way to prevent or reduce the risk on the smart grid. This can be done by smart grid self-healing such that the grid will monitor the data and power flow by estimations and profiling thus detecting any abnormal activities in the system. 2) Authentication and Access Control: There are many electronic devices installed by the power systems, and home appliance are connected to digital verify the identity of the device or users to confirm the character and that will protect smart grid and prevent any unauthorized user to access the system or steal the data. 3) Communication Efficiency and Security: To protect our system from any attack, monitoring, securing and secure with self-healing defense the system in real time, communications should be efficient. B. Password Update Most of smart meters has no keyboards which it is hard to update or change passwords and doing this manually is even harder. Thus, smart grids need to process automatically the policies and passwords in real time to protect from any attacks. C. Protection security can be considered as a segment of the computerization in substation, it is referenced here in light of the fact that the insurance is exceptionally influenced by brilliant substation as of now. The propelled mechanization framework in a shrewd substation guarantees the use of novel wide zone securing and controlling. Ordinary insurance is normally equipment oriented, while shrewd substation can protect the entire framework. In customary substation, securing usually works independently with the matrix operations. In a brilliant substation, the tasks like security, relay protection and security control and estimating in a substation can be integrated. a hierarchical shielding system can be made from: household ensuring system, which is close to the high voltage gadget in the exchanging territory, insurance region, in charge of wide-zone securing, realizing system level protection. This request can secure the wellbeing of the power system, deflecting course bomb even under high leap forward of sporadic distributed producing.


Communications and networks in smart grid bring multiplied connectivity to reform the strength enterprise in terms of reliability, overall performance, and manageability by means of presenting bidirectional communications to function, screen, and manipulate power drift and measurements. But it carries severe safety vulnerabilities with them. Moreover, smart grids may be a high target for cyber terrorism due to their crucial nature and socioeconomic impact of blackouts. Providing a compact survey of cyber security attacks and defense strategies in smart grid structures which might be centered at unique networks and protocol layers. In this article, readers could have an extra thorough understanding of smart grid security, its requirements and targets, and the destiny studies guidelines in this subject matter.

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Substations: Smart Grid & Cyber Security Threats. (2019, Jan 18). Retrieved from