Secure Communications in the Smart Grid
AdvisorGunes, Mehmet H.
Computer Science and Engineering
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Smart grid has diverse stake holders that often require varying levels of access to grid state and measurements. At the distribution level (i.e., MAN), smart grid provides two way communication between households and utilities. At the transmission level (i.e., WAN), multiple organizations need to share the transmission lines and cooperate with participants in their region. Efficient and reliable operation of the grid depends on accurate state measurements and secure data transfer to operation centers. These tasks are complicated by the vast amount of data from diverse sources that are owned by multiple entities that impose physical, economic, market, and political constraints on the data sharing. However, to protect against grid-wide failures and defend against coordinated attacks, power grid operators need to increase data sharing.In this thesis, we propose secure communication and computation services for smart grid to transform the current "closed communication channel" to an "open communication channel". In order to ensure the privacy and integrity of communicating parties at the distribution level, we propose to utilize the smart meters as a gateway between intra-network (i.e., HAN) and inter-network (i.e., WAN) communications, and manage incoming and outgoing traffic and mediate household devices based on the instructions from the electric utility or contracted service providers. Moreover, third parties such as service providers can monitor and manage the contracted customers by using the existing communication infrastructure.To enhance data sharing between operators at the transmission level, we pro- pose an open communication architecture that utilizes blind processing service, which allows information exchange between dedicated system components with protection mechanisms against everyone else. Traditionally, security mechanisms are deployed to protect the transmission channel and the computation environment from third parties based on security requirements of the data. Our goal with blind processing is to establish a secure communication channel between trusted processes, which are concealed from the rest of the system including the root processes (and hence system administrators). Blind processing particularly tries to eliminate interference from the root processes, the system administrators, and careless/malicious users internal or external to the system at all stages of the communication and computation. Shielding the information prevents competitors from accessing the sensitive data while providing a complete picture of the whole grid in computations at operation centers.