Cyber security and the power grid

  • Session Topic
    Grid Integration

Cyber security and the power grid

4 Oct 2018, 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM

Room 213
English (Australia)

Chair: Dr Adrian Panow, Director, Deakin Energy


How, as an enabler and disrupter, IoT will deliver safer, secure, and efficient Cities. So where does Cyber Security fit into all this?

Bob Sharon, Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, Blue IoT

"Smart Buildings as a Service" as a concept is threatening to disrupt the building industry as the internet of things develops and grows from strength to strength challenging traditional engineering approaches. Cheaper internet connected secure sensors can now be used to saturate a building providing far more data points connected to advanced cloud based analytical platforms that deliver superior performance at every level. 

With new insights from these cost-effective solutions, such platforms can deliver detailed and useful decision-making information, thus maximizing available data using loT sensors, existing and new BMS systems, BOM data, and other sources.

With a focus on human comfort, safety, energy efficiency and sustainability, alarms can be triggered when and where appropriate and sent to the relevant stakeholders. Over time, systems will be able to self heal while others will require human intervention, though in a pro-active fashion. Whether it's poor air quality or lighting, bacteria, hazards or poor infrastructure performance, loT and innovative cloud based analytics and management platforms are now disrupting the building industry. Even the traditional BMS as we know it threatened with cloud IoT based BMS. The results will be huge energy and maintenance savings, less waste, better safety and human comfort with greater productivity and satisfaction. 

But what about cyber security. Only in mid April, a large Melbourne office building had it's MODBUS BMS system hacked into. How secure are existing networks as well as the several newer IoT frameworks? How substantive are the risks?

The role of loT, Cyber Security, the cloud and data democratisation in the disruption to smart buildings and cities will be discussed with a very powerful two way Q&A session.


Security and Privacy Challenges for IoT enabled Smart Energy Systems

Dr Shama Islam, Lecturer, Deakin University

With the penetration of smart monitoring and control equipment in the power system network, there has been a significant increase in the information availability and a better scope to obtain useful insights from power flow patterns. The integration of information and communication technologies in existing energy systems, has increased the security and privacy vulnerabilities of the critical power network infrastructure. The recent advances in internet of things has leveraged the interactions within a smart grid to achieve ubiquitous connectivity among the smart monitoring and control devices. As a result, the chances of cyber security attacks in an IoT enabled smart grid system will be quite significant and the consequences of such attacks can be massive.

An IoT enabled energy management system will allow the users obtain insights on the energy consumption patterns and utilize predictive techniques to adapt load demand with the system demand status. Unauthorized access to vital information of the smart energy systems, breaches the confidentiality and privacy objectives of a secured network. For example, the energy consumption data from smart meters can reveal the lifestyle patterns of the people living in the household. Bigger threats are posed to the smart energy systems when critical information is jammed, thus hampering the reliable operation of smart grid. The security threats can have much bigger impact when the attacker eavesdrops information and designs the attack vector to manipulate a certain operation within the grid.

Existing cyber security techniques are not sufficient to manage the security threats in an IoT enabled smart energy system, as they cannot address the specific requirements for smart grid communication. The widely used power system automation protocols often skip the network layer for real time control operations and as a result, becomes more vulnerable, because security features are mostly embedded in the network layer. Thus, alternative security techniques are required to complement the cryptography based existing techniques. Physical layer security, which manages the secured operation in the physical layer, can be a suitable candidate. Such techniques involve the transmission of artificial noise signal to prevent the attacker from gathering confidential information that allows the attacker to construct an appropriate attack vector. To summarize, a more integral approach based on existing and new security techniques is needed to ensure the security and privacy for smart energy systems.


Using Cybersecurity as an Enabler

Todd Williams, Director, NSW Cyber Security Network

The NSW Cyber Security Network (NSWCSN) is an NSW Government initiative, member-based organisation that develops solutions to problems and aims to position NSW as a leader in cyber security. It is a place where industry, government and research collaborate to build future-focused cyber security capabilities around end user-led problems. The Network is also assisting in developing a Cyber talent pipe line for Industry and Government that can protect and enable the state’s utilities, businesses and public infrastructure from the global threat of cyber-attack. By leveraging NSW’s competitive advantages  of research and skills provides a strong economic business case for Cyber business start up and expansion in NSW.   

Increasingly challenges to industry are being responded through international research capacity and collaboration based on the premise of rapid responses to challenges that confront industry and government. Large corporate organisations are increasingly relying less on internal R&D capacity and seeking support to their challenges through entrepreneurial innovation platforms drawing on substantially larger research capacities found in nimble SME’s and start-ups, universities and public industrial research organisations.  NSW is developing this capacity to respond to challenges that confront its business, large and small, government and not for profit sectors in the area of cyber security. 

Energy production, networks and control systems at the industrial and domestic levels are of interest to the NSWCSN. Our member’s widespread capabilities in energy and cyber security, research, training and consulting focus on areas including:

  • Cyber-attack Detection and Information Security for Australia Energy Supply Network
  • Security of smart meters
  • Secure control of smart electricity grids
  • IoT
  • Machine Learning 


  • Bob Sharon


    Founder & Chief Innovation Officer

    Blue IoT

    Bob Sharon is a passionate "Disruptor" with over 30 years of commercial experience in the I.T., data centres, sustainability, smart buildings and the...

  • Dr Shama Islam



    Deakin University

    Dr Shama Naz Islam is a lecturer in Electrical Engineering at Deakin University. She is a leading researcher in the area of smart grid communication,...

  • Todd Williams



    NSW Cyber Security Network

    With a track record in collaborating across industry, education and government to deliver national, state and regional outcomes, I am a metrics...

  • Dr Adrian Panow



    Deakin Energy

    As a senior executive and advisor in the resources, agriculture, manufacturing and renewable energy fields across government, private and research...

Opening Times
Wed 3 Oct Exhibition 9.00am – 5.00pm
Wed 3 Oct Networking Event 5.00pm - 6.30pm
Thur 4 Oct Exhibition 9.00am – 5.00pm

Registration opens 8.00am

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