Will Updated Electricity Infrastructure Security Protect the Grid? A Case Study Modeling Electrical Substation Attacks

Title: Will Updated Electricity Infrastructure Security Protect the Grid? A Case Study Modeling Electrical Substation Attacks
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: November 2018
Published In: Infrastructures: Special Issue Resilient Infrastructure Systems
Description:

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.

Ivan Allen College Contributors:
Citation:

McGrath, J.K. Will Updated Electricity Infrastructure Security Protect the Grid? A Case Study Modeling Electrical Substation Attacks. Infrastructures 20183, 53.

Categories:
  • Energy, Climate and Environmental Policy
  • Regulations and Standards
Related Departments:
  • School of Public Policy