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Security of Critical Elements of Controlled Electrical Networks

Project Overview: 

SECRET focuses on the protection, security and safety for critical control systems. This need is due to the evolution of its architecture and to the need of breaking down with the traditional systems, which were mainly based on isolated networks, mainly composed of proprietary (hardware and software) components. However, and unfortunately, this evolution has involved certain architectural complexities and security risks (vulnerabilities, failures, errors and threats) that could put the good-performance of the system, as a whole, and its critical elements (either remote terminal units from Telvent Company or smart meters from ZIV Company) at risk.

To be more precise with the goals of the project, SECRET is focused on researching on advanced technologies for critical control systems and on countermeasures for power networks in order to ensure security of the system elements. This means taking into account recommendations, standards and good practices, as well as to carry out a set of analysis of vulnerabilities and threats in laboratory so as to find all of those countermeasures required for reaching with the expected trade-off between security and performance.

As for the role of NICS Lab in SECRET, the group has been playing an important role in the execution of several tasks and, of course, in the participation of one of the main workpackages of this project. In particular, NICS Lab has led the tasks related to exploitation and dissemination of results, as well as those tasks associated with the security analysis of RTUs and smart meters. On the other hand, the group has collaborated with the study of standards and recommendations for control elements, security analysis and design for control system architectures, and the creation of a remote laboratory to discover vulnerabilities and anomalous behaviours[1], and test the well performance of processes and functionalities.

Proyecto TSI-063000-2021-26 financiado por:


  1. Javier Lopez and Cristina Alcaraz and Rodrigo Roman (2013): Smart Control of Operational Threats in Control Substations. In: Computers & Security, vol. 38, pp. 14-27, 2013, ISSN: 0167-4048.