An Approach of Replicating Multi-Staged Cyber-Attacks and Countermeasures in a Smart Grid Co-Simulation Environment

10/05/2021
by   Ömer Sen, et al.
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While the digitization of power distribution grids brings many benefits, it also introduces new vulnerabilities for cyber-attacks. To maintain secure operations in the emerging threat landscape, detecting and implementing countermeasures against cyber-attacks are paramount. However, due to the lack of publicly available attack data against Smart Grids (SGs) for countermeasure development, simulation-based data generation approaches offer the potential to provide the needed data foundation. Therefore, our proposed approach provides flexible and scalable replication of multi-staged cyber-attacks in an SG Co-Simulation Environment (COSE). The COSE consists of an energy grid simulator, simulators for Operation Technology (OT) devices, and a network emulator for realistic IT process networks. Focusing on defensive and offensive use cases in COSE, our simulated attacker can perform network scans, find vulnerabilities, exploit them, gain administrative privileges, and execute malicious commands on OT devices. As an exemplary countermeasure, we present a built-in Intrusion Detection System (IDS) that analyzes generated network traffic using anomaly detection with Machine Learning (ML) approaches. In this work, we provide an overview of the SG COSE, present a multi-stage attack model with the potential to disrupt grid operations, and show exemplary performance evaluations of the IDS in specific scenarios.

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