Cyber-physical system security of distribution systems

Chen Ching Liu*, Juan C. Bedoya, Nitasha Sahani, Alexandru Stefanov, Jennifer Appiah-Kubi, Chih Che Sun, Jin Young Lee, Ruoxi Zhu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for control and monitoring of power systems is a layer on top of the physical power system infrastructure. The cyber system and physical power system components form a tightly coupled Cyber-Physical System (CPS). Sources of vulnerabilities arise from the computing and communication systems of the cyber-power grid. Cyber intrusions targeting the power grid are serious threats to the reliability of electricity supply that is critical to society and the economy. In a typical Information Technology environment, numerous attack scenarios have shown how unauthorized users can access and manipulate protected information from a network domain. The need for cyber security has led to industry standards that power grids must meet to ensure that the monitoring, operation, and control functions are not disrupted by cyber intrusions. Cyber security technologies such as encryption and authentication have been deployed on the CPS. Intrusion or anomaly detection and mitigation tools developed for power grids are emerging. This survey paper provides the basic concepts of cyber vulnerabilities of distribution systems and CPS security. The important ICT subjects for distribution systems covered in this paper include Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition, Distributed Energy Resources, including renewable energy and smart meters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-410
Number of pages65
JournalFoundations and Trends in Electric Energy Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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