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Implementing a scalable, highly trusted and interoperable Smart Grid security platform

By 2020, member states are required to ensure that 80% of residential households will be fitted with Smart Grid nodes (a.k.a. smart meters).

A smart grid can help utilities conserve energy, reduce costs, increase reliability and transparency, and make processes more efficient. The increasing use of IT-based electric power systems, however, increases cybersecurity vulnerabilities, which increases cyber security's importance.

SealedGRID (Scalable, trustEd, and interoperAble pLatform for sEcureD smart GRID) is an innovative European project and goes beyond the state-of-the-art by combining cutting edge technologies into one solution for Smart Grids. SealedGRID's authentication mechanism utilizes blockchain technology and is based on a novel key management structure based on the public key infrastructure (PKI) and Web-of-Trust (WoT) concepts.

Moreover, an alternative trusted computing platform targeted specifically on Smart Grid devices is integrated. Techniques regarding efficient readings’ aggregation and protecting users’ energy consumption and habits are also part of the solution. Finally, a revolutionary authorization mechanism enabling both Role-Based Access Control and Attribute-Based Access Control to cope with dynamic environments is employed.

Enhancing European Cybersecurity

SealedGRID considers the special characteristics of legacy and emerging types of energy infrastructures, together with their cyber and physical requirements, and proposes solutions that promote systemic prevention with the minimum possible additional cost for the operators.

Moreover, SealedGRID endorses interoperability to allow operators to promote better offers and to create a competitive energy infrastructure market for their customers. Consequently, SealedGRID preserves the quality of service, for the ultimate benefit of customers. Furthermore, SealedGRID provides efficient Smart Grid solutions with guaranteed highly secure Demand Response services that aim to reduce customers’ electricity bills without sacrificing their privacy or their energy-consuming habits.

The strategic partnership of SealedGRID strengthens the role of universities in supporting industrial research and will bring academia closer to market trends and needs. This cooperation generates results that are presented as scientific publications in high-impact journals and well-known conferences. These results can be utilized to design proposals for upcoming Future Horizon calls. Moreover, the SealedGRID project reinforces Digital Europe by developing a holistic architecture composed of smart modules and applications that promote green growth, create benefits for each European citizen as well as lead to a green economy by integrating innovative solutions.

Read the “EU and global benefits from the SealedGRID project” on their latest blog post.

The SealedGRID Key Management

The SealedGRID is an innovative platform, builds on a realistic architectural image of industrial installations considering the special characteristics of energy infrastructures, their cyber and physical requirements.

The SealedGRID key management scheme is the foundation upon which communications and protective measures will be built and put into place. A novel approach that combines the PKI and WoT concepts into one hybrid solution has been implemented in order to create a network that has the ability to operate in a decentralised manner even when administrative entities are unavailable. The SealedGRID nodes make use of certificates to distributedly store their keys and establish trust relationships across the network’s participants, by accumulating signatures from multiple endorsers across the SG. 

The latest update has enhanced the key management solution with the utilization of blockchain technology, which provides a 2nd level of trust along with accountability and transparency regarding the actions taken by the participant nodes on the SG. The certificates are stored on the distributed ledger and authentication is feasible through the employment of each node’s unique certificate that can be swiftly verified by the SG peers. A certificate lookup mechanism that allows SG entities to efficiently search for credentials of other entities in the blockchain and establish trust relationships and trusted paths among them is in place for that purpose. Read a detailed report on the design, implementation and evaluation of the authentication component and subcomponents to learn about this scheme.

Visit the SealedGRID page to find more latest news, demo videos and relevant products and services that they have developed.