Home  »  News  »  Press Releases  »  Dr. Ali Abur Speaks at the University of Roma-Tre in Rome

Ali-Abur-NEU.pngDr. Ali Abur gave a talk at the University of Roma-Tre in Rome, Italy on May 13, 2015.  His talk was titled Addressing Measurement Vulnerabilities in Power Systems To Annihilate Cyber Attacks.

Abstract: Power system state estimation is one of the key control center applications since its results are used by other functions necessary for operating the system and power markets. Hence, having a state estimator that is robust against intentional errors (or so called cyber-attacks), as well as other types of errors, is quite desirable. Estimated system states are used to calculate the “estimated branch flows” which are then used for determining loading and congestion levels. These are important since they will impact energy pricing. Therefore, any type of manipulation of these estimated flows due to cyber-attacks will have to be properly detected and avoided.

    It has long been known that by manipulating a finite number of measurements, a hacker could bias the results of state estimation without being detected. These measurements are known as the “critical measurements” in state estimation. In this work we investigate a certain type of cyber-attack that can be carried out by manipulating a strategically selected subset of critical measurements. We illustrate the risks associated with having such critical measurements and how to identify these types of “vulnerable measurements” so that they can be transformed. This will require investments in new meters which need to be strategically placed in order to transform the existing critical measurements, making them no longer vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
In addition to measurement design, another consideration for detectability of cyber-attacks is the role of network topology and parameters. This talk will examine the measurements and network topology to identify vulnerabilities against targeted cyber-attacks. Specifically, it will consider the so-called leverage measurements, whose errors are typically not easily detected and therefore they may bias estimators when they carry gross errors. It will also be illustrated that this vulnerability can be addressed by strategic replacement of few of these measurements by phasor measurement units (PMUs).

Biography:  Ali Abur obtained his B.S. degree from Orta Do?u Teknik ?niversitesi, Ankara, Turkey in 1979 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University in 1981 and 1985 respectively. He joined Texas A&M University in 1985 and worked there as a Professor until November 2005 when he joined the faculty of Northeastern University and served as the chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department until September 2013. He is currently a Professor in the same department.