Date of Award

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Lingfeng Wang

Committee Members

Yi Hu, Chiu Law, Chao Zhu, Xiao Qin


Cyber-physical System, Smart Grid Cyber Security


With the smart grid initiatives in recent years, the electric power grid is rapidly evolving into a complicated and interconnected cyber-physical system. Unfortunately, the wide deployment of cutting-edge communication, control and computer technologies in the power system, as well as the increasing terrorism activities, make the power system at great risk of attacks from both cyber and physical domains. It is pressing and meaningful to investigate the plausible attack scenarios and develop efficient methods for defending the power system against them.

To defend the power grid, it is critical to first study how the attacks could happen and affect the power system, which are the basis for the defense strategy development. Thus, this dissertation quantifies the influence of several typical attacks on power system reliability. Specifically, three representative attack are considered, i.e., intrusion against substations, regional LR attack, and coordinated attacks. For the intrusion against substations, the occurrence frequency of the attack events is modeled based on statistical data and human dynamics; game-theoretical approaches are adopted to model induvial and consecutive attack cases; Monte Carlo simulation is deployed to obtain the desired reliability indices, which incorporates both the attacks and the random failures. For the false data injection attack, a practical regional load redistribution (LR) attack strategy is proposed; the man-in-the-middle (MITM) intrusion process is modeled with a semi-Markov process method; the reliability indices are obtained based on the regional LR attack strategy and the MITM intrusion process using Monte Carlo simulation. For the coordinated attacks, a few typical coordination strategies are proposed considering attacking the current-carrying elements as well as attacking the measurements; a bilevel optimization method is applied to develop the optimal coordination strategy.

Further, efficient and effective defense strategies are proposed from the perspectives of power system operation strategy and identification of critical elements. Specially, a robustness-oriented power grid operation strategy is proposed considering the element random failures and the risk of man-made attacks. Using this operation strategy, the power system operation is robust, and can minimize the load loss in case of malicious man-made attacks. Also, a multiple-attack-scenario (MAS) defender-attack-defender model is proposed to identify the critical branches that should be defended when an attack is anticipated but the defender has uncertainty about the capability of the attacker. If those identified critical branches are protected, the expected load loss will be minimal.

Available for download on Wednesday, January 02, 2019