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Intruders in the Grid

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4 Author(s)
Chen-Ching Liu ; Washington State University, Pullman, and University College Dublin, Ireland. ; Alexandru Stefanov ; Junho Hong ; Patrick Panciatici

A power grid is a critical infrastructure that relies on supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems for monitoring, control, and operation. On top of the power infrastructure reside layers of information and communications technology (ICT) that are interconnected with electric grids. The cyber and power infrastructures together constitute a large, complex cyberphysical system. ICTs on the power grids have evolved from isolated structures into open and networked environments based on TCP/IP and Ethernet. The technology is known to be vulnerable with respect to cyberintrusions. As ICTs of the power infrastructure have evolved into highly connected network environments, the use of firewalls has become a widely adopted access control method against intruders. Firewalls do not guarantee cybersecurity, however. The misconfiguration of company firewalls has been reported. Even if the configuration of a firewall is correct, it is still vulnerable because firewalls are not able to detect insider attacks and connections from the trusted side. Hence, solutions based solely on firewalls can be inadequate.

Published in:

IEEE Power and Energy Magazine  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 1 )