Design and development of a test environment to analyze the impact of cyber attacks on the electrical distribution network

Ioannis Moschos, David Lavérnia Ferrer, J.-I. Cairó



Extensive use of information and communication technology infrastructure (ICT) in today’s electrical networks is empowering the Smart Grid growth, but at the same time lays the foundation for cyber threats to the more vulnerable premises of the system. The purpose of this work is twofold. First, to build a simulation environment that covers the impact assessment of cyber attacks on a distribution network´s power components. Second, to propose a testbed architecture which will be comprised from the aforementioned simulation tool combined with a hardware-implemented microgrid. The final cyber-tophysical environment would provide a more accurate
embodiment of information data flow through real communication paths. This will enable developing, integrating and conceiving cyber attacks’ impact on realistic scenarios. The testbed environment would have a strong emphasis on Distributed Renewable Energy Resources (DER). The power system simulation tool used in this work is DIgSILENT Powerfactory. IREC’s microgrid SmartLab facilities are utilized in the complete test bed formulation.

Published in: Renewable Energy & Power Quality Journal (RE&PQJ),Vol. 1, Nº. 14
Pages:583-588 Date of Publication: 2016/5/20
ISSN: 2172-038X Date of Current Version:2016/5/4
REF:402-16 Issue Date: May 2016
DOI:10.24084/repqj14.402 Publisher: EA4EPQ

Authors and affiliations

Ioannis Moschos, David Lavérnia Ferrer, J. Ignasi Cairó
IREC, Catalonia Institute for Energy Research, Barcelona. Spain

Key words

cyber attack, distribution grid, power system simulation, DIgSILENT, DER


[1] Parthasarathy, S.; Kundur, D., ‘Bloom filter based intrusion detection for smart grid SCADA,’ 25th IEEE Canadian Conference on Electrical & Computer Engineering (CCECE), pp.1-6, 2012
[2] R. Lagner, ‘To kill a centrifuge-A technical analysis of what stuxnet’s creators tried to achieve’, November 2013
[4] C. Hopson, ‘Feeling Secure?’,, 08.2014
[5] European Commission, ‘Cybersecurity Strategy of the European Union: An Open, Safe and Secure Cyberspace’,
Brussels, 7.2.2013
[7] K. Mets, J. A. Ojea, C. Develder, ‘Combining power and communication network simulation for cost-effective
smart grid analysis’, IEEE Commun. Surveys & Tutorials– Special issue on energy and smart grid
[8] CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Smart Grid Coordination Group First set of standards, November 2012
[9] J. Yan; C.-C. Liu; Govindarasu, M., "Cyber intrusion of wind farm SCADA system and its impact analysis," in Power Systems Conference and Exposition (PSCE), 2011 IEEE/PES , vol., no., pp.1-6, 20-23 March 2011
[10] D. Kundur, X. Feng, S. Mashayekh, S. Liu, T. Zourntos, K.L. Butler-Purry, ‘Towards modeling the impact of cyber attacks on a smart grid’, Int. J. Security and Networking, 2010
[11] A. Anwar, A. n. Mahmood, M. Ahmed, ‘False data injection attack targeting the LTC transformers to disrupt smart gird operation’, 10th Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Networks, 09.2014
[12] T. H. Morris, W. Gao, ‘Industrial Control System Cyber Attacks’, ICS-CSR 2013 Proceedings of the 1s
International Symposium on ICS & SCADA Cyber Security Research, pp. 22-29, 2013
[13] J. Hong, ‘Cyber security of substation automation systems’, Phd dissertation, Washington State University,
August 2014
[14] U.S. Department of Energy, ‘National SCADA Test Bed: Enhancing control systems security in the energy sector’, Fact Sheet, Idaho National Laboratory (INL), 2007
[15] A. Stefanov, C. Liu, ‘Cyber-Physical System Security and Impact Analysis’, Preprints of the 19th World Congress The International Federation of Automatic Control, Cape Town, South Africa, August 24-29, 2014
[16] C. Breaden, A. Dysko, G. Burt, E. Davidson, N. Mcneill, ‘A testbed for the assessment of active network management applications using simulation and communications emulation’, 22th international conference on electricity distribution (CIRED), Stockholm, 10 June 2013
[17] A. Hahn, A, Ashok, S. Sridhar, M. Govindarasu, ‘Cyber-physical security testbeds: Architecture, application, and evaluation for smart grid’, IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, Vol. 4, No. 2, June 2013
[18] Siemens PTI. BSOL controllers - Standard 1 (2008)
[19] IEEE Std. 421.5-2005. IEEE Recommended practice for excitation system models for power system stability
studies (2005).
[20] F. Diaz-Gonzalez, A. Sumper, O. Gomis-Bellmunt, F.D. Bianchi. ‘Energy management of flywheel-based energy storage device for wind power smoothing’. Applied Energy Journal (2013), Vol. 110, pp. 207-219
[21] M. G. Villalva, J. R. Gazoli, E. R. Filho, ‘Comprehensive approach to modeling and simulation of photovoltaic arrays’, IEEE transactions on power electronics, Vol. 24, No. 5, May 2009
[24] CIGRE task force C6.04.02, ‘Benchmark systems for network integration of renewable and distributed energy
resources’. 2013
[27] Y. Liu, P. Ning, M. Reiter, False data injection attacks against state estimation in electric power grids, in:
Proc. of ACM Computer and Communication Security (CCS), 2009.
[28] DIgSILENT GmbH, DIgSILENT PowerFactory v.14, user manual, Germany, 2009