Ensuring the Security of Electric Power Grids

Today’s electric power grids are benefitting from new “intelligent” technologies, evolving rapidly to provide greater efficiency and performance. These new technologies, however, can make electric power grids vulnerable to increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. This threat has precipitated the need for a new set of standards.

As the industry increasingly focuses on cybersecurity, OPAL-RT is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art open power systems and real-time simulation platforms to meet the new security requirements of power system professionals.

A Complete Cyber-Physical Solution for Critical Infrastructure

OPAL-RT TECHNOLOGIES has partnered with Scalable Networks Technologies, a world leader in high-performance communication systems simulation. This partnership will help support world-class cyber-physical applications across the world.

While the use of information technology brings significant benefits, it can also open new cyberattack vectors, which can expose vulnerabilities within a system. The partnership between Scalable Networks and OPAL-RT will help address the modern cyber-physical challenges faced by organizations and engineers when it comes to designing and protecting critical infrastructure, such as the grid.

A Complete Cyber-Physical Solution for Critical Infrastructure

OPAL-RT and SCALABLE Networks Technologies are proud to offer a complete cyber-physical solution for the development, testing and assessment of power grids and communication networks. Benefit from powerful simulation tools to help ensure the cybersecurity, reliability, and efficiency of critical infrastructure.

The OPAL-RT Solution for Cybersecurity Applications

OPAL-RT solutions provide a vital component in the study and prevention of cyberattacks on power grids. OPAL-RT’s accurate, real-time testing helps clients correctly predict the potential consequences of cyberattacks and system failures on power grid stability and reliability.

OPAL-RT solutions:

  • Simulate the critical components of all sizes of virtual power grids, providing a testing platform that can reproduce all manner of scenarios
  • Ensure all grid components are running consistently
  • Improve grid components to obtain reliable, secure and trackable results
  • Support a wide variety of drivers and communication protocols used in modern electric grids

Recommended OPAL-RT Systems for Cybersecurity

OPAL-RT’s real-time simulation platforms test the widest range of cyberattacks threatening power grids and power systems professionals:

OPAL-RT provides the only real-time digital simulator with the power to simulate electromagnetic transients of large-scale power systems, tackling operational and reliability issues threatening a power system’s cybersecurity.

OPAL-RT offers the only real-time phasor-based simulation available, ePHASORSIM is capable of simulating the largest power grids and their transient stability. It is ideal for cybersecurity benches aimed at performing risk assessment studies, testing higher-level control systems and applications, and validating algorithms for complex global control and protection schemes.

This MATLAB™  – Simulink™ – SimPowerSystems™ based real-time digital simulator accurately simulates the electromagnetic transients required by power grids, as well as the most complex and fastest power electronic and converters systems.

Configuration Example

Examples of Cyberattacks

The OPAL-RT platform for real-time simulation tests the widest range of cyberattacks threatening power grids and power system professionals. Some common examples include:

Denial-of-Service (DoS)
DoS can render a vital service unavailable through direct or indirect attacks. DoS also refers to physical attacks on communication infrastructure, including the cutting of wires or wireless jamming.

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM)
A MitM situation allows an external attacker to intercept, modify, suppress or replay network packets undetected, by misleading a pair of communication nodes into believing that they are still communicating normally.

GNSS Spoofing/Meaconing
Under cyberattack, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers can be caused to lock onto simulated, replayed or otherwise false satellite signals, effectively causing the receiver to locate itself at the wrong position and/or time. Spoofing or Meaconing poses a major threat to PMUs and synchrophasor systems, which are heavily reliant on time synchronization.

Customer Success Stories

USF Smart Grid Power System Lab (SPS) has developed a HIL SCADA testbed, which will be used to test energy management schemes, power grid cyberattacks and mitigation strategies.

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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory‘s cybersecurity capability addresses protecting the cyber-based systems that monitor and control USA’s critical infrastructure with state-of-the-art technologies.

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The advanced research institute of Virginia Tech employs a real-time co-simulation platform for analyzing power grid operation, taking into account integrated communication systems.

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