Restricted Research - Award List, Note/Discussion Page

Fiscal Year: 2018

2013  The University of Texas at San Antonio  (75831)

Principal Investigator: Choo, Kim-Kwang (Principal Investigator) Najafirad, Peyman (Co-PI)  

Total Amount of Contract, Award, or Gift (Annual before 2011): $ 399,218

Exceeds $250,000 (Is it flagged?): Yes

Start and End Dates: 9/1/17 - 8/31/19

Restricted Research: YES


Department, Center, School, or Institute: Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute (TSERI)  

Title of Contract, Award, or Gift: Smart Grid Security and Attack Resiliency: A Forensics-driven Approach

Name of Granting or Contracting Agency/Entity: City Public Svc

Program Title: N/A


The dangers of threats to smart grid networks are evidenced by recent attacks (e.g. on a German steel mill that destroyed a blast furnace) and attempts (e.g. ISIS attempted to hack U.S. electric power utilities to steal confidential grid information and launch terrorist attacks). When a security incident occurs, organizations usually respond by conducting an investigation to establish the root cause of the incident and how it could be prevented in the future. In order to examine the causes of an incident, investigators rely on the residual data from systems, affected by the incident and supporting systems. However, such data might not always be available for a variety of reasons that include short data retention times, a lack of extraction capabilities and the costs associated with conducting such investigations. As a result, incident handlers may not be able to identify the causes of the security incident with any degree of confidence. In this research, we will integrate forensic-driven requirements into the smart grid systems, including the design and development phases if possible. The objective of this framework is to enhanced CPS Energys incident response and (forensic) investigation capabilities. In addition, we will leverage knowledge from our past empirical forensic research to identify weaknesses in existing forensic techniques and tools, which will inform our development of forensically sound data collection techniques and tools to correct those weaknesses. The forensically sound data collection techniques and tools developed in this research will also be evaluated in testbeds build at UTSA and other existing testbeds, such as those of the U.S. Department of Energys Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (National SCADA Testbed Program). In collaboration with CPS Energy, we will provide a field demonstration within a "confined" area of their system, and ultimately to full-scale deployment.

Discussion: No discussion notes


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