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The power system state estimator is an important application used to calculate optimal power flows, to maintain the system in a secure state, and to detect faulty equipment. Its importance in the operation of the smart grid is expected to increase, and therefore its security is an important concern. Based on a realistic model of the communication infrastructure used to deliver measurement data from the substations to the state estimator, in this paper we investigate the vulnerability of the power system state estimator to attacks performed against the communication infrastructure. We define security metrics that quantify the importance of individual substations and the cost of attacking individual measurements. We provide efficient algorithms to calculate these metrics, and use the metrics to show how various network layer and application layer mitigation strategies can be used to decrease the vulnerability of the state estimator. We illustrate the efficiency of the algorithms on the IEEE 118 and 300 bus benchmark power systems.
Date of Conference: 17-20 Oct. 2011