Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Advisor 1

Chee-Wooi Ten

Committee Member 1

Soummya Kar

Committee Member 2

Laura E. Brown

Committee Member 3

Yeonwoo Rho


Cybersecurity for power communication infrastructure is a serious subject that has been discussed for a decade since the first North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) critical infrastructure protection (CIP) initiative in 2006. Its credibility on plausibility has been evidenced by attack events in the recent past. Although this is a "very high impact, rare probability" event, the establishment of quantitative measures would help asset owners in making a series of investment decisions. First, this dissertation tackles attackers' strategies based on the current communication architecture between remote IP-based (unmanned) power substations and energy control centers. Hypothetically, the identification of intrusion paths will lead to the worst-case scenarios that the attackers could do harm to the grid, e.g., how this switching attack may perturb to future cascading outages within a control area when an IP-based substation is compromised. Systematic approaches are proposed in this dissertation on how to systematically determine pivotal substations and how investment can be prioritized to maintain and appropriate a reasonable investment in protecting their existing cyberinfrastructure. More specifically, the second essay of this dissertation focuses on digital protecting relaying, which could have similar detrimental effects on the overall grid's stability. The R-k contingency analyses are proposed to verify with steady-state and dynamic simulations to ensure consistencies of simulation outcome in the proposed modeling in a power system. This is under the assumption that attackers are able to enumerate all electronic devices and computers within a compromised substation network. The essay also assists stakeholders (the defenders) in planning out exhaustively to identify the critical digital relays to be deployed in substations. The systematic methods are the combinatorial evaluation to incorporate the simulated statistics in the proposed metrics that are used based on the physics and simulation studies using existing power system tools. Finally, a risk transfer mechanism of cyber insurance against disruptive switching attacks is studied comprehensively based on the aforementioned two attackers' tactics. The evaluation hypothetically assesses the occurrence of anomalies and how these footprints of attackers can lead to a potential cascading blackout as well as to restore the power back to normal stage. The research proposes a framework of cyber insurance premium calculation based on the ruin probability theory, by modeling potential electronic intrusion and its direct impacts. This preliminary actuarial model can further improve the security of the protective parameters of the critical infrastructure via incentivizing investment in security technologies.