Title: Effects of intentional threats to power substation control systems
Authors: Giovanna Dondossola, Judit Szanto, Marcelo Masera, Igor Nai Fovino
Addresses: Grid and Infrastructures Department, CESI RICERCA SpA, Via Rubattino 54, I-20134 Milan, Italy. ' Via Dante 17/14, 20068 Peschiera Borromeo Milan, Italy. ' Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen, Joint Research Centre – European Commission, T.P. 210 I-21020 Ispra (VA), Italy. ' Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen, Joint Research Centre – European Commission, T.P. 210 I-21020 Ispra (VA), Italy
Abstract: Power station control and management systems represent key elements for guaranteeing the security of the power grid infrastructure. Intrinsically conceived to support the continuous provision of power in secure conditions, those systems today make intensive use of information and communication systems and are therefore exposed to related accidental and intentional cyber threats. This paper describes a simulation of cyber attacks conducted in the CESI RICERCA laboratory testbed on a prototypical substation control infrastructure with the purpose of testing their feasibility and illustrating their impact on the control system services. A set of attack scenarios targeting several subsystems has been experimented, with different simulated threat motivations and different degrees of impact on the global substation service. The paper reports some considerations about the consequences of the implemented attacks, focusing on different facets of the problem, in an effort to elucidate the full significance of the potential cyber threats.
Keywords: power substations; control systems; security; cyber attacks; resilient control architectures; risk evaluation; critical infrastructures; electric grid; power station management; cyber threats; ICT; information technology; communications.
International Journal of Critical Infrastructures, 2008 Vol.4 No.1/2, pp.129 - 143
Published online: 05 Dec 2007 *Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article