EDSGuard: Enforcing Network Security Requirements for Energy Delivery Systems

V. Coughlin, C. Rubio-Medrano, Z. Zhao and G.J. Ahn


To appear in proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Communications, Control and Computing Technologies for Smart Grids (SmartGridComm 2018), Aalborg, Denmark, 2018.


Recently, energy delivery systems (EDS) have been targeted by sophisticated network-based attacks tailored to disrupt the proper distribution of energy among different geographical regions, resulting in non-trivial socio-economical loses and a loss of public confidence in EDS infrastructures. Such attacks were facilitated by the lack of native security measures regarding existing network communication protocols for EDS, which allowed attackers to deliberately manipulate the state of network connections between control modules and field devices. In order to address these concerns, this paper presents EDSGuard, a state-based firewall and monitoring tool that leverages state-ofthe-art packet inspection techniques along with software-defined networks (SDN), to intelligently implement a set of security requirements and best practices for protecting EDS networks, as issued by regulatory organizations within the EDS community in the last years. In addition, EDSGuard implements a series of first-response countermeasure strategies, which can automatically react to anomalies and attacks detected in EDS networks, thus effectively mitigating their consequences and overall impact as a result. We provide the overall rationale behind our approach, as well as a description of our experimental results depicting a set of realistic attack scenarios, which provide evidence of the suitability of EDSGuard for being fully adopted in practice.

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