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New tools for cybersecurity in the power system tested in the Smartgridlab

Four people looking at a screen
In the back: Tesfaye Amare Zerihun and Hristo T. Koshutanski. Santiago Sanchez Acevedo and Alejandro Garcia Bedoya in the front.
In the beginning of October The National Smart Grid Laboratory in Trondheim had a visit from ATOS – a big, international company within digital transformation.

Cyber security is one of the fields they are working on. Hristo T. Koshutanski and Alejandro Garcia Bedoya’s Spanish unit at ATOS have developed a prototype for cyber security tool that can be useful for power grid companies.

“We came here to this smart grid laboratory to do some tests in an environment that matches a high TRL-level six. This lab offers a test environment for hardware in the loop of digitalisation in electric power systems, and the environment SINTEF offers at this lab is very important for us,” said Koshutanski.

In the National Smart Grid Laboratory, it is possible to test cyberattacks in environments that are similar to the real grid. It is not possible to test a tool like this in a normal grid due to the risk of disrupting the electricity supply – you don’t want to attack the real grid to see if it can handle the attacks or not.

“SINTEF Energy Research has developed a laboratory setup that replicates a digital substation of the power system and also has developed computational tools and methods to emulate multiple cyber attacks,” said Santiago Sanchez Acevedo, Research Scientist at SINTEF Energy Research.  

“ATOS’ cyber-security tool is based on deep learning algorithms. It tries to detect the anomalies in the communication channels of operating power systems. It uncovers attacks by looking for changes from the normal operating state,” said Bedoya.

The testing in the beginning of October yielded promising results; the tool managed to detect attacks. If the tests continue to be a success, this tool might become marketable for use by power grid companies to protect their systems.

Koshutanski and Bedoya visited the National Smart Grid Laboratory with the support of the EU project ERIGRID 2.0, inside the frame of transnational laboratory access. ERIGRID 2.0 provides free funding to access the best laboratories of Europe and perform their own experimental research.

ATOS’ tool is being developed in the EU-project ELECTRON.

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