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Communication security for smart grid distribution networks

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5 Author(s)
Elias Bou-Harb ; Concordia Univ., Montreal, QC, Canada ; Claude Fachkha ; Makan Pourzandi ; Mourad Debbabi
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The operation and control of the next generation electrical grids will depend on a complex network of computers, software, and communication technologies. Being compromised by a malicious adversary would cause significant damage, including extended power outages and destruction of electrical equipment. Moreover, the implementation of the smart grid will include the deployment of many new enabling technologies such as advanced sensors and metering, and the integration of distributed generation resources. Such technologies and various others will require the addition and utilization of multiple communication mechanisms and infrastructures that may suffer from serious cyber vulnerabilities. These need to be addressed in order to increase the security and thus the greatest adoption and success of the smart grid. In this article, we focus on the communication security aspect, which deals with the distribution component of the smart grid. Consequently, we target the network security of the advanced metering infrastructure coupled with the data communication toward the transmission infrastructure. We discuss the security and feasibility aspects of possible communication mechanisms that could be adopted on that subpart of the grid. By accomplishing this, the correlated vulnerabilities in these systems could be remediated, and associated risks may be mitigated for the purpose of enhancing the cyber security of the future electric grid.

Published in:

IEEE Communications Magazine  (Volume:51 ,  Issue: 1 )