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Title: Tools and Methods for Hardening Communication Security of Energy Delivery Systems

This document summarizes the research and development work the TT Government Solutions (TTGS), d.b.a. Applied Communication Sciences (ACS), team performed for the Department of Energy Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) program. It addresses the challenges in protecting critical grid control and data communication, including the identification of vulnerabilities and deficiencies of communication protocols commonly used in energy delivery systems (e.g., ICCP, DNP3, C37.118, C12.22), as well as the development of effective means to detect and prevent the exploitation of such vulnerabilities and deficiencies. The team consists of • TT Government Solutions (TTGS), a leading provider of communications solutions that has extensive experience in commercializing communications solutions. TTGS also has deep cyber security research and development expertise supporting a variety of customers. • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), a leader in the cyber security research for the power grid. UIUC brings unique experience in designing secure communication protocols to this project. • Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), an independent nonprofit that conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. EPRI brings to this effort its extensive technical expertise and its utility connections, with members representing more than 90more » percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States. • DTE Energy, the 10th largest electric utility in the US, which helps ensure that this project focuses on the needs of utilities and is rightly positioned to address the needs of the market place. We designed, developed, and demonstrated a modular and extensible ADEC-G (Agent-based, Distributed, Extensible Cybersecurity for the Grid) system for monitoring/detecting abnormal energy delivery systems (EDS) protocol usage and ensuring security coverage. Our approach consists of i. An online system with stateful model based checkers (SMBCs) that helps utilities monitor EDS protocol communication contexts and flag abnormal session behaviors; ii. An offline framework that security tool developers, operators, and auditors can use to verify security properties (leverages formal methods). The modular design of the ADEC-G online system enables its easy extension to cover added protocol features, to introduce new monitoring capabilities, and to apply to additional communication protocols. Its monitoring capabilities and user interface features also facilitate visibilities into ongoing communication patterns and quick grasps of suspicious communication activities. The offline framework provides a platform not only for rigorous validation of security coverage, but also for systematic refinement of checker design leveraging the counter traces generated by the model checking tool. The ADEC-G online monitoring/detection system and the offline validation framework are both operational and have been demonstrated in various settings. The ADEC-G online system has also been integrated into TTGS SecureSmart Managed Security Services offering and been employed to perform security assessment in a section of a utility’s operational network as well as in other Smart Grid security pilot project offerings. TTGS is also in discussions with several system integrators for incorporating the integrated SecureSmart Managed Security Services offering as the cyber security solution for the nce of Operations Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT).« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Tt Government Solutions Incorporated
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States