Smart Grid Simulation & Security


1. Introduction
2. Industrial Control System Background
3. OpenPLC (hands-on)
4. ScadaBR (hands-on)
5. Hands-on exercise for a substation example
6. Discussion


  • PLC: SoftPLC:
  • OpenPLC: freeware
  • SCADA system: freeware

Power Grid Modernization - Power system with cyber attack

Ukraine Attack 2015 Digitalization of power grid components - early 2000’s

Accerleration of grid modernization

Other reasons that resulted in accerleration of grid modernization

1. increasing energy demands
2. need for higher operational efficiencies
3. need for higher grid resilience due to criticalness of power
4. environmental performance of conventional power generation

These leads to renewable and ditributed energy sources -> higher ICT reqruiements -> load participation -> higher efficiency of 1,2,3,4 points above

Smart Grid

smart grid provides:

1. monitoring and measurement
2. network connectivity
3. automation

2, 3 -> leads to vulnerabilities

General difficulties for smart grid deployment:

1. uncommitted consumers
2. exploiting consumers

Investment-related issues(return on investment): solar system, free energy…

Cyber Security Incidences on Smart Grid: …

Energy sector is the second most targeted by cyber criminals, and it might increase due to penetration of more smart appliances and devices.

Recent Cyber Attacks on Smart grid

  • Ukraine’s power grid on 2015
  • Hydropower Generation in New York in 2013
  • Korea Hydro and Nuclear Co Limited in December, 2014
  • Security breach in Iran’s nuclear plant in 2010 (Stuxnet worm): most serious

Cyber attack layers

  • hardware layer - PLC, RTUs
  • firmware layer - Firmware of PLC, IEDs (not control logic)
  • software layer - Coding and bugs in coding related
  • network layer - actual network connecting different parts
  • process layer - the physical process itself


Industrial Control Systems' 4 functions:

  • measure (obtain values from sensors and read as input to process or provide as output)/
  • compare (evaluate..)
  • compute
  • correct

ICS main elements:

  • sensors
  • transducers
  • transmitters
  • controllers I/O, logic
  • final control elements (actuators)


  • Normally Open(NO) relay
  • Normally Closed(NC) Relay



  • issue command for PLC, but not logics
  • gathering & analysing real-time data
  • carrying out remote control
  • date back to early 60s(before PLCs)


textual based programming:

  • Instructions List(IL)
  • Structured Text (ST)

Graphical Programming:

  • Ladder Diagrams(LD)
  • Function block Diagram(FBD)
  • Sequential Function Chart(SFC)


what is OpenPLC: IEC 61131-3

OpenPLC: mainly used on industrial and home automation, IoT and SCADA research.

OpenPLC project 3 parts: Runtime, Editor, and HMI Builder(SCADABR)

why open-source: cheaper, more secure

Master & Slave Devices

OpenPLC is not suitable for all types of ICS

Example: with 2 timers create a circuit that turns on in 10s and turn off in 20s

why security is an issue in ICS

Operation is more important than security.


SUTD workshop Prof (?)