Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Chee-Wooi Ten


In recent years, security of industrial control systems has been the main research focus due to the potential cyber-attacks that can impact the physical operations. As a result of these risks, there has been an urgent need to establish a stronger security protection against these threats. Conventional firewalls with stateful rules can be implemented in the critical cyberinfrastructure environment which might require constant updates. Despite the ongoing effort to maintain the rules, the protection mechanism does not restrict malicious data flows and it poses the greater risk of potential intrusion occurrence.

The contributions of this thesis are motivated by the aforementioned issues which include a systematic investigation of attack-related scenarios within a substation network in a reliable sense. The proposed work is two-fold: (i) system architecture evaluation and (ii) construction of attack tree for a substation network. Cyber-system reliability remains one of the important factors in determining the system bottleneck for investment planning and maintenance. It determines the longevity of the system operational period with or without any disruption. First, a complete enumeration of existing implementation is exhaustively identified with existing communication architectures (bidirectional) and new ones with strictly unidirectional. A detailed modeling of the extended 10 system architectures has been evaluated. Next, attack tree modeling for potential substation threats is formulated. This quantifies the potential risks for possible attack scenarios within a network or from the external networks. The analytical models proposed in this thesis can serve as a fundamental development that can be further researched.