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Cyber Attacks on Protective Relays in Digital Substations and Impact Analysis

EasyChair Preprint no. 3006

6 pagesDate: March 19, 2020


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).

Keyphrases: cascading failures, cyber attacks, Cyber Security, Cyber-Physical Systems, IEC 61850, protective relay, Smart Grid

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Vetrivel Subramaniam Rajkumar and Marko Tealane and Alexandru Stefanov and Peter Palensky},
  title = {Cyber Attacks on Protective Relays in Digital Substations and Impact Analysis},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 3006},

  year = {EasyChair, 2020}}
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