New “Smart Inverters” May be Vulnerable to Cyberattacks – Researchers Say

Smart inverters' vulnerability to cyberattacks needs to be identified and countered, according to researchers
The new Smart inverters

The rise of distributed energy resources (DERs), which are facilities owned by individuals or small businesses and capable of producing, storing, and returning power to energy grids, is revolutionizing how electricity is utilized worldwide.

The technology is spreading as society explores alternate energy sources, but its quick development opens up a whole new set of weaknesses that are susceptible to hackers.

Smart inverters are external pieces of equipment that allow DERs, such as residential solar panels and electric car chargers, to connect to power networks. According to a recent study by Concordia researchers, the use of digital information and communication technology by these devices makes them vulnerable to numerous attacks by bad actors, which could have detrimental effects on the general public.

The study examines the state of smart inverter cybersecurity and analyzes attack tactics at the device and grid levels. It was published in IEEE: Transactions on Power Electronics. It also considers how to stop them, lessen their impact, and defend against them.

The Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering associate professor and article co-author Jun Yan adds, “We are still in the first decade of trying to comprehend the problem and identifying the most obvious hazards.”

“Threats will always exist. We have so many homeowners and other users of these devices that it is impossible to have a perfect line of protection. To begin, we need to examine our strategic priorities.”

The paper’s principal author is Yuanling Li, a Concordia Ph.D. candidate and research assistant at Ericsson’s Global Artificial Intelligence Accelerator (GAIA).

Grid-level and device-level risks

The researchers explain the various ways that threats to individual devices or the entire grid might be used to attack smart inverters. Attacks on devices can interfere with communications with other devices or with the utility controlling energy flow, but attacks on hardware are also a possibility.

They list potential attack tactics that could be used against communication links between the inverters and devices as reconnaissance, replay, DDoS, and man-in-the-middle. Hardware is the target of techniques like physical firmware attacks and hall spoofing, which manipulate the electromagnetic fields around a device.

The researchers warn of the potential for assaults on distributed control systems and centralized control structures at the microgrid level. Many of these attacks are made to obstruct directives from the control to the devices or to insert misleading data into the communications stream between the device and the regulator.

The capacity of the microgrid to distribute energy can be significantly hampered by these, which can result in oscillations of power, voltage, and frequency.

A member of a world network

The study was conducted as a part of the Mitacs-Ericsson GAIA multi-institutional research effort, which brings together a network of academics from Canada, the United States, India, and Europe. Li is one of 25 Concordia graduate students taking part in the effort, and she has been studying ethical hacking strategies to find weaknesses in crucial infrastructure.

In order to assess the security of cyber-physical smart grids, he explains, “we deploy AI technology.” Deep reinforcement learning will be used to discover effective and automatic techniques to breach smart grids and have a detrimental physical impact.

Yan argues that Concordia is ideally suited to take the initiative in the fight against this new threat because it is a key member of the National Cybersecurity Consortium.

“This document will give us a good place to start.”

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Do to the researchers we have be able to know more about the New “Smart Inverters”. Do you think this was helpful?, and you may need one of New “Smart Inverters” in your hom?. You can drop your comment on the comment section.

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