Cyber Attacks on Protective Relays in Digital Substations and Impact Analysis

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Abstract

Power systems automation and communication standards are crucial for the transition of the conventional power system towards a smart grid. The IEC 61850 standard is widely used for substation automation and protection. It enables real-time communication and data exchange between critical substation automation devices. IEC 61850 serves as the foundation for open communication and data exchange for digital substations of the smart grid. However, IEC 61850 has cyber security vulnerabilities that can be exploited in a man-in-the-middle attack. Such coordinated cyber attacks against the protection system in digital substations can disconnect generation and transmission lines, causing cascading failures.In this paper, we demonstrate a cyber attack involving the Generic Object-Oriented Substation Event (GOOSE) protocol of IEC 61850. This is achieved by exploiting the cyber security vulnerabilities in the protocol and injecting spoofed GOOSE data frames into the substation communication network at the bay level. The cyber attack leads to tripping of multiple protective relays in the power grid, eventually resulting in a blackout. The attack model and impact on system dynamics are verified experimentally through hardware-in-the-loop simulations using commercial relays and Real-Time Digital Simulator (RTDS).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 8th Workshop on Modeling and Simulation of Cyber-Physical Energy Systems (MSCPES)
PublisherIEEE
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-8721-1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2020
Event8th Workshop on Modeling and Simulation of Cyber-Physical Energy Systems - Virtual Workshop
Duration: 21 Apr 202021 Apr 2020
Conference number: 8

Workshop

Workshop8th Workshop on Modeling and Simulation of Cyber-Physical Energy Systems
Period21/04/2021/04/20

Keywords

  • cyber-physical systems
  • IEC 61850
  • cyber security
  • cascading failures
  • Cyber attacks

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