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Cyber-security considerations for the smart grid

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2 Author(s)
Sam Clements ; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA 99352 USA ; Harold Kirkham

The electrical power grid is evolving into the “smart grid.” The goal of the smart grid is to improve efficiency and availability of power by adding more monitoring and control capabilities. These new technologies and mechanisms are certain to introduce vulnerabilities into the power grid. In this paper we provide an overview of the cyber security state of the electrical power grid. We highlight some of the vulnerabilities that already exist in the power grid including limited capacity systems, implicit trust and the lack of authentication. We also address challenges of complexity, scale, added capabilities and the move to multipurpose hardware and software as the power grid is upgraded. These changes create vulnerabilities that did not exist before and bring increased risks. We conclude the paper by showing that there are a number mitigation strategies that can help keep the risk at an acceptable level.

Published in:

IEEE PES General Meeting

Date of Conference:

25-29 July 2010