Utility Grid Automation and Risk Management

Award #: N/A
Amount Awarded: $400,000
Sponsoring Organization:Lockheed Martin
Grant Period: 2008-2009
Primary Investigator(s): Patrick McDaniel


The smart grid is the next generation electric grid which provides two-way communications between customers and electric utilities. This enhanced connectivity allows for advanced services such as dynamic pricing schemes, power quality management and load shedding. A key component in the smart grid is the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), which consists of the smart meters and meter communication networks needed to provide fine grained usage information to utilities. With the extended functionality of AMI comes an extended attack surface for electric meters. The goal of the utility grid risk management project is to understand the security risks in AMI systems through analysis of commercially available smart metering equipment. The SIIS lab is currently working with Lockheed Martin to conduct a security analysis of full metering solutions from several vendors. The investigation is focussed on meter vulnerability analysis, AMI communication security, the upstream impact of meter vulnerabilities on core electric grid components and risk mitigations for the discovered issues. Our preliminary results have shown that the studied meters are vulnerable to practical attacks allowing customers to commit energy fraud undetected by the utility. Future work will include the additional study of new smart metering equipment as well as attacks on customer privacy and availability of service.

Related Research Projects

Smart Grid Security

Related Publications

Stephen McLaughlin, Dmitry Podkuiko, Adam Delozier, Sergei Miadzvezhanka, and Patrick McDaniel. Multi-vendor Penetration Testing in the Advanced Metering Inf rastructure. 26th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC 2010), Austin, TX, USA. December, 2010.

Stephen McLaughlin, Dmitry Podkuiko, Adam Delozier, Sergei Miadzvezhanka, and Patrick McDaniel. Embedded Firmware Diversity for Smart Electric Meters. 5th USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Security (HotSec 2010), Washington, DC. August, 2010.

Stephen McLaughlin, Dmitry Podkuiko, and Patrick McDaniel. Energy Theft in the Advanced Metering Infrastructure. 4th International Workshop on Critical Information Infrastructure Security (CRITIS 2009), Bonn, Germany. September, 2009.

Patrick McDaniel and Stephen McLaughlin. Security and Privacy Challenges in the Smart Grid. IEEE Security & Privacy Magazine, 7(3):75--77, May/June, 2009.