The electric power grid pre-dates computer and digital networking technologies. As these technologies have progressed the power grid has shifted from electro-mechanical devices toward networked computers as a foundation for intelligence and control. This trend has culminated in the concept of the “Smart Grid”, which envisions the use of networked computers to transform the reliability and efficiency of power delivery. While providing many benefits, this change also invites some of the security and privacy threats that have plagued networked computers in other application areas. This talk will look at a selection of research efforts to address these threats in various power grid environments. These include the home environment, where the Smart Grid brings new ideas for monitoring power in homes to allow consumers to participate more directly in energy markets, and the substation environment, where automation improves remote management through high-speed substation networks. Topics will include remote attestation for electric power meters, verifying responses to load shed instructions, using hardware to provide code white-listing, secure multicast IPsec, and meter infrastructure for rural regions based on cognitive radio and white spaces. The talk will also summarize some of the emerging research questions for the Smart Grid that determine likely threats to security and privacy.
Carl A. Gunter is a professor in the Computer Science Department of the University of Illinois. He is director of Illinois Security Lab and director of the HHS Strategic Healthcare IT Advanced Research Projects on Security (SHARPS). He has made research contributions in the semantics of programming languages, formal analysis of networks and security, and privacy. His recent work concerns security and privacy issues for the power grid and healthcare information technology. He is the author of more than 140 scientific research publications and patents and a textbook on semantics of programming languages published by MIT Press. He is a founder of Probaris Technologies, a company that provides identity management technologies.