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Björkman, Gunnar
Publications (3 of 3) Show all publications
Vernotte, A., Välja, M., Korman, M., Björkman, G., Ekstedt, M. & Lagerström, R. (2018). Load Balancing of Renewable Energy: A Cyber Security Analysis. Energy Informatics, 1, Article ID 5.
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2018 (English)In: Energy Informatics, E-ISSN 2520-8942, Vol. 1, article id 5Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

In the coming years, the increase of automation in electricity distribution grids, controlled by ICT, will bring major consequences to the cyber security posture of the grids. Automation plays an especially important role in load balancing of renewable energy where distributed generation is balanced to load in a way that the grid stability is ensured. Threats to the load balancing and the smart grid in general arise from the activities of misbehaving or rouge actors in combination with poor design, implementation, or configuration of the system that makes it vulnerable. It is urgent to conduct an in-depth analysis about the feasibility and imminency of these potential threats ahead of a cyber catastrophy. This paper presents a cyber security evaluation of the ICT part of the smart grid with a focus on load balancing of renewable energy.

Method

The work builds on a load balancing centered smart grid reference architecture model that is designed as part of the evaluation with the help of SCADA system and smart grid experts. The smart grid load balancing architecture represented by the model is then analyzed using a threat modelling approach that is encapsulated in a tool called securiCAD. Countermeasures are introduced in the model to measure how much each improve the cyber security of the smart grid.

Results

The analysis shows that the main threat comes from the internet and is directly dependant on the level of internet access office users have coupled with their level of access on the OT zone. Supply chain attacks are also of great concern, i.e. the compromising of the software/hardware vendor with the objective of feeding rogue updates to assets, typically to install a backdoor. The general takeaway defense-wise is that it is of the utmost importance to increase efforts in securing the smart Grid in all the ways possible as they appear to be generally complementary.

Discussion

The obtained results raise concerns whether the architecture of the smart grid still remains satisfactory in today’s state of the cyberspace and the increased presence and sophistication of cyber threats. There are also concerns whether the proposed security measures, regardless of their evaluated effectiveness, are realistically implementable from both financial and practical point of view.

Conclusions

There is no silver bullet available to achieve full protection against cyber attacks. The smart grid remains a network of IT/OT machines with dataflows going between them. State-sponsored hackers given enough time and regardless of the defences in place will eventually make their way into a critical infrastructure such as the smart grid. While mitigations will not eliminate the threats, they will increase the cyber resilience of the infrastructure by increasing both its time frame and effectiveness. As such, in a time where usability, efficiency and practicality are at the front of every domain, innovations regarding these aspects should really be carried out with strong security in mind.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2018
National Category
Computer Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-230939 (URN)10.1186/s42162-018-0010-x (DOI)
Funder
StandUp
Note

QCR 20180620. QC 20191024

Available from: 2018-06-18 Created: 2018-06-18 Last updated: 2019-10-24Bibliographically approved
Rossebo, J. E. Y., Wolthuis, R., Fransen, F., Björkman, G. & Medeiros, N. (2017). An Enhanced Risk-Assessment Methodology for Smart Grids. Computer, 50(4), 62-71
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Enhanced Risk-Assessment Methodology for Smart Grids
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2017 (English)In: Computer, ISSN 0018-9162, E-ISSN 1558-0814, Vol. 50, no 4, p. 62-71Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Cyberattacks on power grids are pushing threat and risk assessment to another complexity level. As part of its scope, the EU's Security for Smart Electricity Grids (SEGRID) project was tasked with building on existing methods to address the interdependencies characteristic of a smart grid. The authors describe the resulting methodology.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE COMPUTER SOC, 2017
National Category
Computer Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-210387 (URN)10.1109/MC.2017.106 (DOI)000403456700011 ()2-s2.0-85018988372 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20170704

Available from: 2017-07-04 Created: 2017-07-04 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
Korman, M., Välja, M., Björkman, G., Ekstedt, M., Vernotte, A. & Lagerström, R. (2017). Analyzing the effectiveness of attack countermeasures in a SCADA system. In: Proceedings - 2017 2nd Workshop on Cyber-Physical Security and Resilience in Smart Grids, CPSR-SG 2017 (part of CPS Week): . Paper presented at 2nd Workshop on Cyber-Physical Security and Resilience in Smart Grids, CPSR-SG 2017, 21 April 2017 (pp. 73-78). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Analyzing the effectiveness of attack countermeasures in a SCADA system
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2017 (English)In: Proceedings - 2017 2nd Workshop on Cyber-Physical Security and Resilience in Smart Grids, CPSR-SG 2017 (part of CPS Week), Association for Computing Machinery, Inc , 2017, p. 73-78Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The SCADA infrastructure is a key component for power grid operations. Securing the SCADA infrastructure against cyber intrusions is thus vital for a well-functioning power grid. However, the task remains a particular challenge, not the least since not all available security mechanisms are easily deployable in these reliability-critical and complex, multi-vendor environments that host modern systems alongside legacy ones, to support a range of sensitive power grid operations. This paper examines how effective a few countermeasures are likely to be in SCADA environments, including those that are commonly considered out of bounds. The results show that granular network segmentation is a particularly effective countermeasure, followed by frequent patching of systems (which is unfortunately still difficult to date). The results also show that the enforcement of a password policy and restrictive network configuration including whitelisting of devices contributes to increased security, though best in combination with granular network segmentation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Association for Computing Machinery, Inc, 2017
Keywords
Cyber security, SCADA system, Security controls, Threat modeling, Vulnerability assessment, Electric power system security, Electric power transmission networks, Legacy systems, SCADA systems, Smart power grids, Multi-vendor environment, Network configuration, Network segmentation, Power grid operations, Vulnerability assessments, Network security
National Category
Computer Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-216532 (URN)10.1145/3055386.3055393 (DOI)2-s2.0-85019036296 (Scopus ID)9781450349789 (ISBN)
Conference
2nd Workshop on Cyber-Physical Security and Resilience in Smart Grids, CPSR-SG 2017, 21 April 2017
Note

QC 20171128

Available from: 2017-11-28 Created: 2017-11-28 Last updated: 2017-11-28Bibliographically approved
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