2nd SPARKS Stakeholder Workshop

Overview

The second SPARKS stakeholder workshop took place on Wednesday 25th March, 2015 in Cork, Ireland, and was located across two sites: the premises of EMC Corporation and at the Nimbus microgrid. The workshop had a strong focus on demonstrating the cybersecurity challenge for smart grid, and included a live demonstration of a cyber-attack. The project highlighted its response to the cybersecurity smart grid threat. Additionally, there were presentations from other EU-funded projects, namely the SEGRID and HyRiM projects.

Attendees at the 2nd SPARKS stakeholder workshop

The programme for the workshop included the following highlights:

  • An overview of the smart grid cybersecurity threat landscape, touching on recent cyber-attacks that were targeted at the energy sector
  • A demonstration of a real cyber-attack to Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), including an insight into the economic implications of such attacks when leading to large scale power outages
  • An introduction to security and risk analysis approaches that can be used to understand the risks from such threats to a smart grid
  • Presentations on a number of key smart grid security technologies that can be used to detect and mitigate cyber-attacks to a smart grid
  • A visit to the state-of-the-art Nimbus microgrid site, including insights into how advanced security analytics techniques can be used to identify potentially malicious attacks to such an infrastructure
  • Presentations from key related European projects that are investigating smart grid security and assessing risks to complex interconnected critical infrastructures

A Multi-stage Cyber-attack Demonstration

At the stakeholder workshop, a multi-stage cyber-attack demonstration was presented to the stakeholders. The aim of this demonstration was to highlight the nature of the cybersecurity problem for the smart grid. The attack demonstration implemented a number of steps, such as a social engineering attack, and exploited known software vulnerabilities to realise a man-in-the-middle attack between a IEC 61850 client and a photovoltaic inverter located at the AIT smartEST lab in Vienna, Austria.

Workshop Programme

Dr Kieran McLaughlin and Dr BooJoong Kang from Queen’s University Belfast, and Silvio La Porta from EMC2 demonstrating a multi-staged cyber-attack to a photovoltaic invertor, located at the AIT SmartEST Laboratory in Vienna
Dr Kieran McLaughlin and Dr BooJoong Kang from Queen’s University Belfast, and Silvio La Porta from EMC2 demonstrating a multi-stage cyber-attack to a photovoltaic invertor, located at the AIT SmartEST Laboratory in Vienna

The following presentations were given at the workshop; click on the links to download a PDF version of the slides:

* For security reasons, we have not made this presentation publicly available. If you are interested in discussing this demonstration, please contact the coordinator.