Stealth Attacks on the Smart Grid

Ke Sun, Inaki Esnaola, Samir M. Perlaza, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Random attacks that jointly minimize the amount of information acquired by the operator about the state of the grid and the probability of attack detection are presented. The attacks minimize the information acquired by the operator by minimizing the mutual information between the observations and the state variables describing the grid. Simultaneously, the attacker aims to minimize the probability of attack detection by minimizing the Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence between the distribution when the attack is present and the distribution under normal operation. The resulting cost function is the weighted sum of the mutual information and the KL divergence mentioned above. The trade-off between the probability of attack detection and the reduction of mutual information is governed by the weighting parameter on the KL divergence term in the cost function. The probability of attack detection is evaluated as a function of the weighting parameter. A sufficient condition on the weighting parameter is given for achieving an arbitrarily small probability of attack detection. The attack performance is numerically assessed on the IEEE 14-Bus, 30-Bus, and 118-Bus test systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8799014
Pages (from-to)1276-1285
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science


  • Stealth
  • data injection attacks
  • information-theoretic security
  • mutual information
  • probability of detection


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