Cyber-Physical Energy Systems Security: Threat Modeling, Risk Assessment, Resources, Metrics, and Case Studies

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are interconnected architectures that employ analog, digital, and communication resources for their interaction with the physical environment. CPS are the backbone of enterprise, industrial, and critical infrastructure. Thus, their vital importance makes them prominent targets for malicious attacks aiming to disrupt their operations. Attacks targeting cyber-physical energy systems (CPES), given their mission-critical nature, can have disastrous consequences. The security of CPES can be enhanced leveraging testbed capabilities to replicate power system operations, discover vulnerabilities, develop security countermeasures, and evaluate grid operation under fault-induced or maliciously constructed scenarios. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive overview of the CPS security landscape with emphasis on CPES. Specifically, we demonstrate a threat modeling methodology to accurately represent the CPS elements, their interdependencies, as well as the possible attack entry points and system vulnerabilities. Leveraging the threat model formulation, we present a CPS framework designed to delineate the hardware, software, and modeling resources required to simulate the CPS and construct high-fidelity models which can be used to evaluate the system's performance under adverse scenarios. The system performance is assessed using scenario-specific metrics, while risk assessment enables system vulnerability prioritization factoring the impact on the system operation. The overarching framework for modeling, simulating, assessing, and mitigating attacks in a CPS is illustrated using four representative attack scenarios targeting CPES. The key objective of this paper is to demonstrate a step-by-step process that can be used to enact in-depth cybersecurity analyses, thus leading to more resilient and secure CPS.

Zografopoulos, I., Ospina, J., Liu, X., & Konstantinou, C. (2021). Cyber-Physical Energy Systems Security: Threat Modeling, Risk Assessment, Resources, Metrics, and Case Studies. IEEE Access, 9, 29775–29818. doi:10.1109/access.2021.3058403




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