Securing the smart grid

John Hastings*, David M. Laverty, D. John Morrow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Citations (Scopus)


The availability of electricity is fundamental to modern society. It is at the top of the list of critical infrastructures and its interruption can have severe consequences. This highly important system is now evolving to become more reliable, efficient, and clean. This evolving infrastructure has become known as the smart grid; and these future smart grid systems will rely heavily on ICT. This infrastructure will require many servers and due to the nature of the grid, many of these systems will be geographically diverse requiring communication links. At the heart of this ICT infrastructure will be security. At each level of the smart grid from smart metering right through to remote sensing and control networks, security will be a key factor for system design consideration. With an increased number of ICT systems in place the security risk also increases. In this paper the authors discuss the changing nature of security in relation to the smart grid by looking at the move from legacy systems to more modern smart grid systems. The potential planes of attack for future smart grid systems are identified, and the general anatomy of a cyber-attack is presented. The authors then introduce the various threat levels of different types of attack and the mitigation techniques that could be put in place for each. Finally, the authors' introduce a Phasor Measurement Unit (PMU) communication system (operated by the authors) that can be used as a test-bed for some of the proposed future security research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPower Engineering Conference (UPEC), 2014 49th International Universities
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-1-4799-6556-4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014
Event49th International Universities Power Engineering Conference, UPEC 2014 - Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Duration: 02 Sep 201405 Sep 2014


Conference49th International Universities Power Engineering Conference, UPEC 2014
Abbreviated titleUPEC 2014


  • Communications
  • Demand-Response
  • Hackers
  • Information Security
  • Networks
  • Phasor Measurement Unit
  • Security
  • Smart Grid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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