Smart Grid Data Integrity Attacks: Characterizations & Countermeasures

ECE Seminar: Smart Grid Data Integrity Attacks: Characterizations & Countermeasures

Starts at: November 15, 2012 4:30 PM

Ends at: 5:30 PM

Location: Scaife Hall Auditorium

Speaker: Eilyan Bitar

Affiliation: Cornell

Link to Abstract


Faculty and Students,

If you would like to meet with Prof. Bitar during his visit to CMU on Thursday, Nov. 15th please email Claire Bauerle

Seminar details: - Thurs. Nov. 15th , 4:30-5:30pm EST, Pittsburgh Campus: Scaife Auditorium (Room 125), Refreshments at 4pm. - Silicon Valley campus: Rm 118, Building 23 at 1:30 PST

Speaker: Eilyan Bitar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Cornell University

Title: Smart Grid Data Integrity Attacks: Characterizations & Countermeasures


Real power injections at loads and generators, and real power flows on selected lines in a transmission network are monitored and transmitted over a SCADA network to the system operator. These are used in state estimation algorithms to make dispatch, re-balance and other energy management system [EMS] decisions. Coordinated cyberattacks of power meter reading scan be arranged to be undetectable by any bad data detection algorithm. These unobservable attacks present a serious threat to grid operations. Of particular interest are sparse attacks that involve the compromise of a modest number of meter readings.

An efficient algorithm to find all unobservable attacks [under standard DC load flow approximations] involving the compromise of exactly two power injection meters and an arbitrary number of power meters on lines is presented. This requires O(n^2m) flops for a power system with n buses and m line meters. If all lines are metered, there exist canonical forms that characterize all 3, 4, and 5-sparse unobservable attacks. These can be quickly detected with O(n^2) flops using standard graph algorithms. Known-secure phase measurement units [PMUs] can be used as countermeasures against an arbitrary collection of cyberattacks. Finding the minimum number of necessary PMUs is NP-hard. It is shown that p+1 PMUs at carefully chosen buses are sufficient to neutralize a collection of p cyberattacks.


Eilyan Bitar is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University. Prior to joining Cornell in the Fall 2012, he was engaged as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of Computing + Mathematical Science (CMS) at the California Institute of Technology [hosted by Steven Low] and at the University of California, Berkeley in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science [hosted by Kameshwar Poolla] during the 2011-12 academic year. A native Californian, He received both his Ph.D. [2011] and B.S. [2006] from the University of California, Berkeley. His current research interests include stochastic optimization and control and their applications to the economics, operation, and protection of the electricity grid with large-scale penetration of variable renewable energy resources.