Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering Science


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Prof. Jagath Samarabandu

Second Advisor

Prof. Tarlochan Singh Sidhu


This thesis is about issues related to the security of electric substations automated by IEC61850, an Ethernet (IEEE 802.3) based protocol. It is about a comprehen­ sive security analysis and development of a viable method of auditing the security of this protocol. The security analysis focuses on the possible threats to an electric substation based on the possible motives of an attacker. Existing methods and met­ rics for assessing the security of computer networks are explored and examined for suitability of use with IEC61850. Existing methods and metrics focus on conven­ tional computers used in computer networks which are fundamentally different from Intelligent Electronic Devices (IED’s) of substations in terms of technical composition and functionality. Hence, there is a need to develop a new method of assessing the security of such devices. The security analysis is then used to derive a new metric scheme to assess the security of IED’s that use IEC61850. This metric scheme is then tested out in a sample audit on a real IEC61850 network and compared with two other commonly used security metrics. The results show that the new metric is good in assessing the security of IED’s themselves. Further analysis on IED security is done by conducting simulated cyber attacks. The results are then used to develop an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) to guard against such attacks. The temporal risk of intrusion on an electric substation is also evaluated.



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