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ASU Engineering | Lalitha Sankar


The US represent 18% of the world consumption as of 2015.

  • 3200 electric utility companies
  • 17,000 power plants
  • 800 GW peak demand
  • 165,000 miles of high-voltage lines
  • 140 million meters
  • $ 1 trillion in assets

Electric network ca be divided into three large sub-systems:

  • Generation
  • Transmission
  • Distribution



The modern electrical grid is a cyber physical system in the sense that there is a bidirectional flow of electricity and information between the “cyber” (supervisory control system, energy management system, etc) components and the electrical components (generation, transmission, and distribution).

Cyber attacks against power grids have been on the rise during the past decade. The attacks against the Ukraine power grid in 2015 and 2016 showed that cyber threats against electrical grids are serious and there is a need to study and analyze such threats. We are particularly interested in a class of cyber attacks called false data injection (FDI) attacks. In these attacks, the attacker corrupts the data in the cyber system with the goal to create adverse effects in the physical system. The below diagram shows the general flow of an FDI attack.

We are working on False Data Injection Attacks (FDIA) that are undetectable with the traditional detection tools (i.e. statistical bad data detectors) and can cause outages or equipment damage in some cases and may hide severe contingency cases in other cases thus compromising N-1 security criteria for an electrical grid.