WP-022-2020: Risk assessment of physical attacks against field devices

This report assesses the risk of physical attacks against field devices to be able to select the right hardware security measures.

Increasingly vendors are including hardware security measures in smart grid field devices. Some are encrypting the external flash modules on smart meters. Some are using hardware security modules on data concentrators to encrypt key databases. And others are implementing secure boot through specialized chips on IEDs. Implementing such measures on field devices appears to make sense, as they are exposed to physical attacks.

Grid operators now have a choice of procuring devices with these features or not. Before evaluating the efficacy of such measures on mitigating attacks, this report first assesses the possible risk of field equipment being compromised.

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