PLCloud: Comprehensive power grid PLC security monitoring with zero safety disruption

Henry Senyondo, Pengfei Sun, Robin Berthier, Saman Zonouz

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

Abstract

Recent security threats against cyber-physical critical power grid infrastructures have further distinguished the differences and complex interdependencies between optimal plant control and infrastructural safety topics. In this paper, we reflect upon few real-world scenarios and threats to understand how those two topics meet. We then propose a practical architectural solutions to address the corresponding concerns. As a first concrete step, we focus on networked industrial control systems in smart grid where several sensing-processing-Actuation embedded nodes receive information, make control decisions, and carry out optimal actions. Traditionally, global safety maintenance, e.g., transient stability, is embedded into control and taken into account by the decision making modules. With recent cyber security-induced safety incidents, we believe that the safety-handling modules should also be considered as a part of global trusted computing base (attack surface) for security purposes. Generally, maximizing the system's overall security requires the designers to minimize its trusted computing base. Consequently, we argue that the traditional combined safety-control system architecture is not anymore the optimal design paradigm to follow given existing threats. Instead, we propose PLCLOUD, a new cloud-based safety-preserving architecture that places a minimal trusted safety verifier layer between the physical world and the cyber-based supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) infrastructure, specifically programmable logic controllers (PLCs). PLCLOUD's main objective is to take care of infrastructural safety and separate it from optimal plant control that SCADA is responsible for.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2015 IEEE International Conference on Smart Grid Communications, SmartGridComm 2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages809-816
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781467382892
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 17 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventIEEE International Conference on Smart Grid Communications, SmartGridComm 2015 - Miami, United States
Duration: Nov 1 2015Nov 5 2015

Publication series

Name2015 IEEE International Conference on Smart Grid Communications, SmartGridComm 2015

Other

OtherIEEE International Conference on Smart Grid Communications, SmartGridComm 2015
CountryUnited States
CityMiami
Period11/1/1511/5/15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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  • Cite this

    Senyondo, H., Sun, P., Berthier, R., & Zonouz, S. (2016). PLCloud: Comprehensive power grid PLC security monitoring with zero safety disruption. In 2015 IEEE International Conference on Smart Grid Communications, SmartGridComm 2015 (pp. 809-816). [7436401] (2015 IEEE International Conference on Smart Grid Communications, SmartGridComm 2015). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/SmartGridComm.2015.7436401