Hijacking Internet-connected Devices to Provoke Harmful Oscillations in an Electrical Network: a Feasibility Assessment

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Title: Hijacking Internet-connected Devices to Provoke Harmful Oscillations in an Electrical Network: a Feasibility Assessment
Authors: Cuffe, PaulGowing, Hugh
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/11685
Date: 6-Jul-2020
Online since: 2020-11-11T09:22:28Z
Abstract: Internet-connected devices will represent an increasing proportion of the load served by electric power systems. As these devices could conceivably be hijacked and controlled remotely by a malicious actor, they could represent a new threat vector against the dynamic security of a power system. Such attack strategies have not been considered in the existing literature on power system cybersecurity. As an initial scoping exercise, the present case study explores whether such devices could be remotely hijacked and then maliciously power-cycled at particular frequencies to deliberately provoke harmful oscillations in an electrical grid. To gauge the broad feasibility of this novel style of attack, dynamic simulations are performed on two representative test power systems, at differing levels of attacker and defender resources. These simulations show that power-cycling just 1% of consumer loads at a system's resonant frequency may sometimes provoke harmful electromechanical oscillations throughout a national grid. This novel simulation exercise therefore implies that cybersecurity vulnerabilities at the consumer side could jeopardise the physical integrity of a nation's entire electricity supply.
Funding Details: Science Foundation Ireland
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: The Institution of Engineering and Technology
Journal: IET Cyber-Physical Systems: Theory & Applications
Volume: 5
Issue: 2
Start page: 226
End page: 231
Copyright (published version): 2020 The Institution of Engineering and Technology
Keywords: Computer network securityInternetPower gridsPower system securityPower system simulationPower system stability
DOI: 10.1049/iet-cps.2019.0012
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Electrical and Electronic Engineering Research Collection

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