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Survivable Systems Analysis of the North American Power Grid

By Patrick R. Merry, Axel W. Krings, Paul W. Oman, Keywords Scada and Power Grid


The modern electric power grid is a complex interconnected network of independent physical and electronic devices that utilize myriad technologies for communication between other devices and with centralized control centers. These technologies may be compromised by malicious parties which may, in turn, lead to degraded performance or a failure of the communications infrastructure, ultimately resulting in loss of power grid transmission and/or distribution capabilities. This paper presents a Survivable Systems Analysis (SSA) of the North American power grid communications infrastructure. The SSA is used to identify general classes of inherent and emergent weaknesses within the North American electric power grid and propose appropriate means to mediate them. The analytic technique is applicable to any national or regional power grid, and can be generalized to most widearea, complex, real-time control infrastructures such as transportation systems, natural gas distribution, and oil pipeline transmission systems

Year: 2011
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