Cyber-physical security of a smart grid infrastructure

Yilin Mo, Tiffany Hyun Jin Kim, Kenneth Brancik, Dona Dickinson, Heejo Lee, Adrian Perrig, Bruno Sinopoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

871 Citations (Scopus)


It is often appealing to assume that existing solutions can be directly applied to emerging engineering domains. Unfortunately, careful investigation of the unique challenges presented by new domains exposes its idiosyncrasies, thus often requiring new approaches and solutions. In this paper, we argue that the smart grid, replacing its incredibly successful and reliable predecessor, poses a series of new security challenges, among others, that require novel approaches to the field of cyber security. We will call this new field cyber-physical security. The tight coupling between information and communication technologies and physical systems introduces new security concerns, requiring a rethinking of the commonly used objectives and methods. Existing security approaches are either inapplicable, not viable, insufficiently scalable, incompatible, or simply inadequate to address the challenges posed by highly complex environments such as the smart grid. A concerted effort by the entire industry, the research community, and the policy makers is required to achieve the vision of a secure smart grid infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6016202
Pages (from-to)195-209
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Adrian Perrig received the Ph.D. degree in com- puter science from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, in 2001. Currently he is a Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Engineering and Public Policy, and Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He serves as the technical director for Carnegie Mellon’s Cybersecurity Laboratory (CyLab). Dr. Perrig is a recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award in 2004, IBM faculty fellowships in 2004 and 2005, and the Sloan research fellowship in 2006.

Funding Information:
Dr. Sinopoli was awarded the 2006 Eli Jury Award for outstanding research achievement in the areas of systems, communications, control and signal processing at the University of California at Berkeley and the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award in 2010. His research interests include networked embedded control systems, distributed estimation and control over wireless sensor-actuator networks, and cyber-physical systems security.


  • Cyber-physical systems
  • security
  • smart grids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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