Improving the resilience of cyber-physical systems under strategic adversaries


Paul Wood

Tech report number

CERIAS TR 2016-11

Entry type



Renewable energy resources challenge traditional energy system operations by substituting the stability and predictability of fossil fuel based generation with the unreliability and uncertainty of wind and solar power. Rising demand for green energy drives grid operators to integrate sensors, smart meters, and distributed control to compensate for this uncertainty and improve the operational efficiency of the grid. Real-time negotiations enable producers and consumers to adjust power loads during shortage periods, such as an unexpected outage or weather event, and to adapt to time-varying energy needs. While such systems improve grid performance, practical implementation challenges can derail the operation of these distributed cyber-physical systems. Network disruptions introduce instability into control feedback systems, and strategic adversaries can manipulate power markets for financial gain. This dissertation analyzes the impact of these outages and adversaries on cyber-physical systems and provides methods for improving resilience, with an emphasis on distributed energy systems. ^ First, a financial model of an interdependent energy market lays the groundwork for profit-oriented attacks and defenses, and a game theoretic strategy optimizes attack plans and defensive investments in energy systems with multiple independent actors. Then attacks and defenses are translated from a theoretical context to a real-time energy market via denial of service (DoS) outages and moving target defenses. Analysis on two market mechanisms shows how adversaries can disrupt market operation, destabilize negotiations, and extract profits by attacking network links and disrupting communication. Finally, a low-cost DoS defense technique demonstrates a method that energy systems may use to defend against attacks.


2016 – 07 – 22

Publication Date


BibTex-formatted data

To refer to this entry, you may select and copy the text below and paste it into your BibTex document. Note that the text may not contain all macros that BibTex supports.