Jenna McGrath

Ph.D. Candidate

Member Of:
  • School of Public Policy
  • Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory
Email Address:
mcgrathj@gatech.edu
Office Location:
DM Smith
Overview
Faculty Advisor:  Valerie Thomas
Education:
  • B.A. Environmental Analysis and Policy, Boston University
  • M.A. Environmental Energy Analysis, Boston University
Awards and
Distinctions:
  • Cybersecurity Fellow (2018), Georgia Tech Institute for Information Security and Privacy
  • Interdisciplinary Research Grant "Risk of Combined Physical-Cyberattacks Against Electricity Infrastructure" (01/2017 – 03/2018). Awarded by Georgia Tech's Strategic Energy Institute, as part of the "Energy in an Information Age" research series.
  • Energy Expo Chair (2016, 2017), Georgia Tech Energy Club
  • Sam Nunn Security Program Fellow (2015-2016), Georgia Tech Sam Nunn School of International Affairs
  • Finalist (2015), C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium Poster Competition
  • NSF IGERT Fellow (2013-2015), focus in Nanomaterials for Energy Storage and Conversion
Areas of
Expertise:
  • Critical Infrastructure Disaster Resiliency
  • Energy Policy
  • Energy Security
  • Grid Infrastructure Security And Policy
Interests
Research Fields:
  • Clean Energy
  • Climate Change Mitigation
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Energy, Climate and Environmental Policy
  • Smart Grid
Selected Publications

Journal Articles

  • Will Updated Electricity Infrastructure Security Protect the Grid? A Case Study Modeling Electrical Substation Attacks
       In: Infrastructures: Special Issue Resilient Infrastructure Systems [Peer Reviewed]

    November 2018

    As targeted attacks continue to threaten electricity infrastructure, the North American Electricity Reliability Corporation (NERC) and private utilities companies are revising and updating the physical and cybersecurity standards for grid infrastructure in the United States (U.S.). Using information collected about past physical attacks, feasible physical and cyber-physical attacks are modeled against the proposed updated security standards for a U.S.-based generic electric substation. Utilizing the software program Joint Conflict and Tactical Simulation (JCATS), a series of increasingly sophisticated physical attacks are simulated on the substation, as are a set of cyber-enabled physical attacks. The purpose of this study is to determine which of the security upgrades will be most effective at mitigating damages to the electrical infrastructure from an attack. The findings indicate that some of the utility and agency-proposed security measures are more effective than others. Specifically, additional barriers around the substation and physical armored protection of transformers are most effective at mitigating damages from attacks. In contrast, increased lighting at the substation and reducing the surrounding foliage are not as effective. This case study demonstrates a modeling analysis approach to testing the efficacy of physical security measures that can assist in utility and agency decision-making for critical infrastructure security.

Recent Publications

Books

Journal Articles

  • Will Updated Electricity Infrastructure Security Protect the Grid? A Case Study Modeling Electrical Substation Attacks
       In: Infrastructures: Special Issue Resilient Infrastructure Systems [Peer Reviewed]

    November 2018

    As targeted attacks continue to threaten electricity infrastructure, the North American Electricity Reliability Corporation (NERC) and private utilities companies are revising and updating the physical and cybersecurity standards for grid infrastructure in the United States (U.S.). Using information collected about past physical attacks, feasible physical and cyber-physical attacks are modeled against the proposed updated security standards for a U.S.-based generic electric substation. Utilizing the software program Joint Conflict and Tactical Simulation (JCATS), a series of increasingly sophisticated physical attacks are simulated on the substation, as are a set of cyber-enabled physical attacks. The purpose of this study is to determine which of the security upgrades will be most effective at mitigating damages to the electrical infrastructure from an attack. The findings indicate that some of the utility and agency-proposed security measures are more effective than others. Specifically, additional barriers around the substation and physical armored protection of transformers are most effective at mitigating damages from attacks. In contrast, increased lighting at the substation and reducing the surrounding foliage are not as effective. This case study demonstrates a modeling analysis approach to testing the efficacy of physical security measures that can assist in utility and agency decision-making for critical infrastructure security.