BlackIoT: IoT Botnet of High Wattage Devices Can Disrupt the Power Grid

Friday, November 16, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
United States

Speaker: Dr. Saleh Soltan, Princeton University

We demonstrate that an Internet of Things (IoT) botnet of high wattage devices–such as air conditioners and heaters–gives a unique ability to adversaries to launch large-scale coordinated attacks on the power grid. In particular, we reveal a new class of potential attacks on power grids called the Manipulation of demand via IoT (MadIoT) attacks that can leverage such a botnet in order to manipulate the power demand in the grid. We study five variations of the MadIoT attacks and evaluate their effectiveness via state-of-the-art simulators on real-world power grid models. These simulation results demonstrate that the MadIoT attacks can result in local power outages and in the worst cases, large-scale blackouts. Moreover, we show that these attacks can rather be used to increase the operating cost of the grid to benefit a few utilities in the electricity market. This work sheds light upon the interdependency between the vulnerability of the IoT and that of the other networks such as the power grid whose security requires attention from both the systems security and power engineering communities.

Bio: Saleh Soltan is a postdoctoral research associate in the department of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University. In 2017, he obtained the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University. He received B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics (double major) from Sharif University of Technology, Iran in 2011 and the M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University in 2012. He is the Gold Medalist of the 23rd National Mathematics Olympiad in Iran in 2005, the recipient of Columbia University Electrical Engineering Armstrong Memorial Award in 2012, and Columbia University Electrical Engineering Jury Award in 2018. His research interests include Power Systems Security and Resilience, Smart Grid, Network Science, Graph Theory, and Machine Learning. He has published more than 20 journal and conference papers in these areas.

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