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Researchers Test Distributed Computing as Defense Against Cyberattacks on Power Grids

The Abstract (05/20/14) Matt Shipman 

The Smart Energy Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) project, which involves a team of researchers from across the United States, aims to use sophisticated tools to test various scenarios related to cybersecurity in power grids. Researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill are creating a distributed computing system that would disseminate monitoring and control functions across multiple virtual machines in a cloud computing network that overlays the grid. “The advantage here would be that if one element of the computing system gets compromised, the other virtual machines could step in to protect the system and coordinate their efforts to keep the grid functioning,” says NCSU professor Aranya Chakrabortty. Early testing indicates the distributed computing approach would make the grid more resilient against both physical attacks and cyberattacks. “The more we understand about our potential vulnerabilities, the better controllers we’ll be able to design to protect our infrastructure,” Chakrabortty says.



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