F-DETA: A Framework for Detecting Electricity Theft Attacks in Smart Grids

Badrinath Krishna, V., Lee, K., Weaver, G., Iyer, R., Sanders, W.


2016 46th Annual IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN), Toulouse, 2016, pp. 407-418.


Electricity theft is a major concern for utilities all over the world, and leads to billions of dollars in losses every year. Although improving the communication capabilities between consumer smart meters and utilities can enable many smart grid features, these communications can be compromised in ways that allow an attacker to steal electricity. Such attacks have recently begun to occur, so there is a real and urgent need for a framework to defend against them. In this paper, we make three major contributions. First, we develop what is, to our knowledge, the most comprehensive classification of electricity theft attacks in the literature. These attacks are classified based on whether they can circumvent security measures currently used in industry, and whether they are possible under different electricity pricing schemes. Second, we propose a theft detector based on Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence to detect cleverly-crafted electricity theft attacks that circumvent detectors proposed in related work. Finally, we evaluate our detector using false data injections based on real smart meter data. For the different attack classes, we show that our detector dramatically mitigates electricity theft in comparison to detectors in prior work.

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