Protecting the Grid Against Hackers

03/10/2016 |

New technology identifies cyberattacks on industrial systems

Electric substation equipment

A new strategy has been developed that identifies the unique signals sent by electrical grid control network devices which will prevent hacker attacks by differentiating between legitimate responses and responses that could be fake. The researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) found that because grid-connected devices give off unique response signals due to their physical characteristics and consistent operation. Analyzing the signals and comparing them to past data sent by the system can identify which commands are coming from trusted sources and which may be coming from devices outside of the network.

In addition to protecting the grid from hackers, the technique’s other possible applications could include processes in industries such as wastewater treatment and manufacturing, as well as helping to secure IoT-connected devices. The process has been demonstrated on two electrical substations so far and the researchers will continue improving the system until it’s near 100% accurate.

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