Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Computer Engineering

First Advisor's Name

A. Selcuk Uluagac

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Kemal Akkaya

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Alexander Perez Pons

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


smart grid security machine learning signal convolution

Date of Defense



The smart grid concept has further transformed the traditional power grid into a massive cyber-physical system that depends on advanced two-way communication infrastructure. While the introduction of cyber components has improved the grid, it has also broadened the attack surface. In particular, the threat stemming from compromised devices pose a significant danger: An attacker can control the devices to change the behavior of the grid and can impact the measurements or damage the grid equipment. In this thesis, to detect such malicious smart grid devices, we propose a novel machine learning and convolution-based framework, named PowerWatch, that is able to run in centralized and distributed settings. After gathering library and system calls, the framework is able to identify how close the observed device is behaving with respect to its normal operations, with mispredictions having the implication of compromise. We evaluated the framework through a state-machine-based computational model of the smart grid devices that explore a wide variety of possible cases that may occur in grid operations: attaining 95.1% accuracy at 0.03% false positive rate over 37500 experiments. The framework was then further tested on a realistic smart grid testbed, where it was able to successfully detect the compromised device in every attack scenario considered in the threat model.





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