Developing methods and techniques to detect cyber-attacks on digitized distribution networks of electrical power enhancing its reliability and resilience.

Potential hazards of cyber attacks

Uninterrupted operation of distribution networks for electrical energy is essential for a modern society. The automation and digitization of these networks is already in full process. However, the use of information and communication technologies in networks for distributing electricity results in a considerable risk of cyber-attacks. Digitizing the whole distribution network up to the end user will substantially increase the attack surface. 

Need for research 

The risk that comes with the introduction of ever more information and communication technologies into the systems of energy distribution is well known but has not yet been thoroughly researched. To ensure the resilience of digitized networks of energy distribution there is an urgent need for research in the area of detection and interception of cyber-attacks. 
Legal requirements 
Taking into consideration the risks and dangers of failures of such critical infrastructure systems, the EU adopted the Directive concerning measures for a high common level of security of network and information systems (NIS Directive). In Austria, the corresponding law on cyber security will require that strategically important businesses in the energy, transport, banking and health sectors prove that they are adequately protected against cyber-attacks.  

Main objective: technologies for anomaly detection in automation networks

Existing technologies cannot meet the specific requirements of the hard- and software architectures of energy distribution networks. The main objective of the project EnergyNetworkSec is to investigate technologies for anomaly detection in automation networks of energy distribution systems. To this end, a formal model of normal system behaviour must be developed to detect anomalies and set appropriate actions. A concept for a monitoring system for automatiom networks for the distribution of electrical energy will be developed and implemented as proof-of-concept.

Thematically the project builds on the projects CPS-Security, SmartMeterIDS und Substation Security.

External project manager
FH-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Paul Tavolato
External Staff
Christoph Musik
  • RadarServices Smart IT-Security GmbH
  • Wels Strom GmbH
  • Energy CERT
BMVIT/Sicherheitsforschungs-Förderprogramm KIRAS
11/01/2018 – 10/31/2020
Involved Institutes, Groups and Centers
Forschungsgruppe Secure Societies
Institute of IT Security Research