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Cyber Security Issues in Substation Automation


Substation Automation Market report categorizes the global market, based on components (IEDs &communication networks), types, SCADA;geographical analysis of this report covers North America, South America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the ROW

Substation has a critical infrastructure and its protection and control systems have evolved significantly and will continue to change with advancements in technology. Systems have become more linked and provide end users with much more information to allow for higher reliability and greater levels of control. Interoperability between different products and systems has been achieved by developing solutions based on open standards and by leveraging commercial technologies like Ethernet. The vulnerability of security threats increases with more interoperability. Security threats generally consist of attacks on substation assets. These may not only be physical facilities, but also cyber information, databases, and software applications.

The necessity of reliable and secure Substation Automation Market protection and control systems as well as the entire utility information infrastructure is being pushed in many markets. This is done majorly by regulations to ensure national security due to the potential impact that a coordinated cyber-attack on the electric utility control system could have on wide scale outages. Till recently, cyber security was not considered an issue as many utilities were unaware of possible cyber security threats. As most of substation communication networks are open and additional information access requirements are growing, protocols (like TCP/IP) and the network itself are becoming more and more vulnerable. IEDs are continuously becoming more interconnected. Remote access to IEDs via modern IP networks, Internet, and WAN (Wide Area Network) technologies present many security threats.

Cyber security for automation and control systems in the power industry is constantly gaining high importance and attention over the last few years. However, level of attention and the drivers for cyber security differs across the globe. Currently, North America witnesses the major research and developments with regards to cyber security; followed by Europe. APAC and the other regions are believed to follow the same suit. Main drivers for cyber security in North America are the NERC CIP (Critical Infrastructure Protection) regulation, for which compliance is mandatory for all utilities part of the bulk electric systems since 2010. Regulatory requirements for smart grids have mandated utilities to address cyber security issues.

General Cyber security threats include:

  • Theft of information
  • Unauthorised remote access to information
  • Information modification and altering
  • Denial of service
  • Hacking the SCADA systems

The Introduction of IEC 61850 standard has further addressed the communication security demands of this industry. It could be observed that demand for cyber security, both from a technical as well as from a process perspective, will increase in future. Cyber security will become mandatory in system, products, solutions, and processes as industry standards are developed.

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