Smart Grid Security

Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security

The modern energy industry finds itself in a state of upheaval. Securing our energy future means that renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and water power are increasingly necessary to augment the power supply; in order to use this energy efficiently, the energy has to be temporarily stored, transported and billed on demand, making ICT infrastructures for monitoring and control an absolute must.

The Smart Grids which result from this integration of ICT infrastructures with the distributed energy grid are security-critical infrastructures. Disruptions and failures of the energy supply can have serious impacts on both business and society-at-large; as the Stuxnet worm demonstrated in mid-2010, successful attacks on control networks (such as SCADA-systems) constitute an enormous risk. In order to protect against attacks and to prevent manipulated ICT components in the Smart Grid from being turned into weapons against society, appropriate protective measures must be integrated into the infrastructure. For example, smart meters and gateways installed at the consumer must be protected against manipulation in order to prevent energy theft. The communication between participating entities, as well as the services for collecting energy usage, accounting and billing information, must be protected from the injection of false data. This includes for example the secure integration of electric vehicles. It is also necessary to develop privacy-compliant solutions which prevent the construction of unauthorized consumer usage profiles.

Expertise

Fraunhofer AISEC analyses existing Smart Grid components, develops Smart Grid reference architectures and advises carriers in the construction and operation of secure subsystems. We develop methods for securing smart grid components, including the development of tamper-resistant, specially-customized hardware security modules for smart meters, gateways and communication endpoints. Fraunhofer AISEC creates customized security protocols for securing communications – for example, the secure integration of electric vehicles into the Smart Grid. We also develop methods for anonymization and pseudonymization in order to ensure the protection of data privacy. One of our key research resources is our Smart Meter/Smart Grid test laboratory for the evaluation and testing of new security solutions, where, among other things, attacks on developed reference architectures can be carried out.

Skills and services at a glance

  • Development of hardware security modules for smart meters and gateways
  • Development of techniques to verify platform reliability (efficient
    process certification)
  • Development of cryptographic methods and protocols for securing
    communications
  • Development of privacy-conformant data collection and processing
    through anonymization and pseudonymization of data (Privacy by Design)
  • Conduction of security studies and of attacks to test security
    solutions
  • Construction of reference platforms in our Smart Grid Lab