ECE Seminar: Man-in-the-Middle Attacks of a Power Grid: Detectability, Impacts on Real Time Markets, and Counter Measures

Presenter: Lang Tong, Ph.D., Irwin and Joan Jacobs Professor in Engineering, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

Man-in-the-Middle Attacks of a Power Grid: Detectability, Impacts on Real Time Markets, and Counter Measures A defining feature of a smart grid is its ability to adapt to changing operating conditions and contingencies. However, relying on networking for grid monitoring and real time operation comes with increasing security risks of cyber-attacks. In this talk, we consider the man-in-the-middle (MiM) attack on the power grid where an adversary alters certain analog and digital data with the goal of misleading the control center with an incorrect network topology and operating state. We present a necessary and sufficient condition under which MiM attacks are undetectable. We provide a geometric characterization on the impact of such attacks on the real-time locational marginal prices. We then develop a counter measure for MiM attacks. It is shown that, if a set of meters satisfying a certain branch covering property are protected, undetectable attacks do not exist. Bio: Lang Tong is the Irwin and Joan Jacobs Professor in Engineering at Cornell University and the Cornell site director of the Power Systems Engineering Research Center (PSERC). He received the B.E. degree from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, and PhD degree in EE from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame. Lang Tong works in the general area of statistical inference, decisions, communications, and complex networks. His current research focuses on energy and power systems and related data analytics.

Date: Friday, Mar 8, 2013
Time: 11:45 am - 1:00 pm
Where: Fitzpatrick Center Schiciano Auditorium Side A
Contact: McLain, Paul
Phone: 660-5254
Email: paul.mclain@duke.edu