Lightweight, Delay-Aware, and Scalable Cryptographic Services for Smart-Grid Systems

Summary Statement

NOTE: this is no longer an active CREDC research activity. 

Smart grid systems require methods for authentication of measurement data and control commands that are able to operate in resource-constrained settings, are extremely fast, and are scalable to large deployments. Existing crypto methods are either unscalable for broadcast authentication or too costly to meet the real-time requirements of smart grids. To fill this gap, we will develop a suite of very fast, yet scalable digital signatures that can meet the needs of smart grids.

Energy Delivery System (EDS) Gap Analysis

Smart-grid systems need authentication mechanisms that can securely handle very high throughput command and measurement message flows (e.g., 60-120 messages per sec) with a minimum cryptographic tag sizes and end-to-end processing delay. Moreover, these authentication mechanisms must be highly scalable for large number of components to be deployed in practice. Symmetric cryptography offers high throughput authentication with compact tags, but it is not scalable for large systems. Asymmetric (public key) crypto can scale to large systems, but it introduces large end-to-end cryptographic delay and communication overhead through large signature sizes. This creates a significant technology gap, in which there is a trade-off between cryptographic efficiency and scalability of cryptographic mechanisms. We propose to address this technology gap by developing highly efficient digital signatures, which are scalable and yet meet the efficiency requirements of smart-grid systems.

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