Protecting Time-aware Real-Time Traffic in the Smart Grid: ITSF, Bucharest 2018

SoC-e presents at the International Timing & Sync Forum (ITSF) the talk “Protecting Time-aware Real-Time Traffic in the Smart Grid” . ITSF  is the largest specialist time and sync conference in the world covering applications in Telecoms, Finance, Energy, Transport, Broadcast and Defence.


Protecting Time-aware Real-Time Traffic in the Smart Grid

IEC 61850, the standard for the automation of power substations, is enabling an interoperable digitalization of power substations and many Smart-Grid premises. It defines the data models, services and the communication protocols. Since 2004, when the 14 parts of the standard were released, most of the digitalization processes seen in the sector have followed this standard approach. The Precise-Time-Protocol (PTP, IEEE 1588) is also included in this standard for synchronization purposes.

The Electric Sector, from the security point of view, is identified as a Critical System. Power plants and electric substations are considered Critical Infrastructures. Therefore, the digitalization of these premises has included cyber-attacks as potential threats. The protection of PTP and Layer-2 control messages, GOOSE and SMV, needs specific analysis and workarounds. The standard IEC 62351-6 proposes a security extension for GOOSE and SMV messages. However, this Ethernet traffic is 1588-aware and therefore, any solution proposed to secure these kind of messages must take into account not affecting the synchronization plane.

This presentation reviews the proposed security mechanisms for stringent real-time traffic and proposes a solution able to work within 1588-aware networks.