Strategic protection against data injection attacks on power grids

Tng T. Kim, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

490 Scopus citations


Data injection attacks to manipulate system state estimators on power grids are considered. A unified formulation for the problem of constructing attacking vectors is developed for linearized measurement models. Based on this formulation, a new low-complexity attacking strategy is shown to significantly outperform naive ℓ1 relaxation. It is demonstrated that it is possible to defend against malicious data injection if a small subset of measurements can be made immune to the attacks. However, selecting such subsets is a high-complexity combinatorial problem given the typically large size of electrical grids. To address the complexity issue, a fast greedy algorithm to select a subset of measurements to be protected is proposed. Another greedy algorithm that facilitates the placement of secure phasor measurement units (PMUs) to defend against data injection attacks is also developed. Simulations on the IEEE test systems demonstrate the benefits of the proposed algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5751206
Pages (from-to)326-333
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science


  • Bad data
  • cyberattack
  • phasor measurement units (PMUs)
  • power grid security
  • sparse signal processing
  • system state estimation


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