The electric power system is monitored via an extensive network of sensors in tandem with data processing algorithms, i.e., an intelligent cyber layer, that enables continual observation and control of the physical system to ensure reliable operations. This data collection and processing system is vulnerable to cyber-attacks that impact the system operation status and lead to serious physical consequences, including systematic problems and failures.
This dissertation studies the physical consequences of unobservable false data injection (FDI) attacks wherein the attacker maliciously changes supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) or phasor measurement unit (PMU) measurements, on the electric power system. In this context, the dissertation is divided into three parts, in which the first two parts focus on FDI attacks on SCADA and the last part focuses on FDI attacks on PMUs.
The first part studies the physical consequences of FDI attacks on SCADA measurements designed with limited system information. The attacker is assumed to have perfect knowledge inside a sub-network of the entire system. Two classes of attacks with different assumptions on the attacker's knowledge outside of the sub-network are introduced. In particular, for the second class of attacks, the attacker is assumed to have no information outside of the attack sub-network, but can perform multiple linear regression to learn the relationship between the external network and the attack sub-network with historical data. To determine the worst possible consequences of both classes of attacks, a bi-level optimization problem wherein the first level models the attacker's goal and the second level models the system response is introduced.
The second part of the dissertation concentrates on analyzing the vulnerability of systems to FDI attacks from the perspective of the system. To this end, an off-line vulnerability analysis framework is proposed to identify the subsets of the test system that are more prone to FDI attacks.
The third part studies the vulnerability of PMUs to FDI attacks. Two classes of more sophisticated FDI attacks that capture the temporal correlation of PMU data are introduced. Such attacks are designed with a convex optimization problem and can always bypass both the bad data detector and the low-rank decomposition (LD) detector.