Open Position

Doctoral INPhINIT Fellowships Programme - Cyber-Security for Communication Networks in Power Systems

Type of Position: PhD Scholarship (Bolsa de Doutoramento)

Type of Contract: Research grant

Duration: 36 Months

Closed at: 2020-Feb-04




Computing Systems and Communication Networks, INESC-ID, Lisboa, Portugal

POSITION DESCRIPTION -Research Project / Research Group Description:

INESC-ID, Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Lisboa, Portugal is dedicated to Research & Development in the fields of Information Technologies, Electronics, Communications and Energy.

INESC-ID is a non-profit institution, privately owned by Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa and INESC, officially declared of public interest. It was created in 2000, as a result of a reorganization of its parent institution INESC. Since December 2004, the institution has the status of “Associate Laboratory”, by FCT.

The main objectives of INESC-ID are to integrate competences from researchers in electrical engineering and computer science to advance the state of the art in computers, telecommunications, information systems and energy and to perform technology transfer.

The work is to be done within the Computing Systems and Communication Networks Research Line at INESC-ID, which does research in the fundamental areas of knowledge required to assure efficient, safe, reliable, secure, and trustworthy computing and network systems to support the whole structure of the modern networks and complex software.

A collaboration with R&D Nester (Centro de Investigação em Energia REN-State Grid, S.A.), the research and development laboratory of the Portuguese energy Transmission System Operator (TSO), has been established for the scenarios to be built in this work. The scenarios may be built in Nester’s Real Time Power System Simulation Laboratory.

The student should follow the Ph.D. Programme in Electrical and Computer Engineering (PDEEC) from Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal. Técnico is the largest and the most competitive university in Portugal, and is recognised as a prestigious school at national and international level, namely in the fields of Architecture, Engineering, Science and Technology. It comprises Portugal’s most prestigious Laboratories and RD&I centres.

-Job position description:

The deployment of the concept of Smart Grids and the digitalization of the power system, i.e. the usage of digital solutions in power systems, is taking place all around the world. This has changed completely the context under which power systems are operated nowadays, bringing new design challenges.

This job consists on performing a study of cyber-security for communications networks in power systems in collaboration with R&D Nester. The study should produce cyber-security best practices for power system communications and produce laboratory prototypes demonstrating some of them. The work includes the following phases:

Study the communication standards for electrical substations. Study of relevant parts of IEC 61850 (electrical substation automation), IEC 60870-5-101 and 60870-5-104 (SCADA telecontrol), Relevant parts of IEC 60870-6 (Inter-Control Center Communications Protocol - ICCP), Relevant parts of IEC 62351 (cyber-security for power system communications), IEEE 1588 (Precision Time Protocol - PTP).

State of the art survey. Study of scientific papers, commercial available systems, utility policies, documentation from manufacturers of Intelligent Electronic Devices (IED), presence in a conference (e.g. Energy Intrusion Detection conference, ), meetings with utility persons in charge for cyber-security.

Identification of: vulnerabilities of power system communication networks, possible types of attacks, test cases to assess the security of power system communication networks.

Project a prototype platform (hardware and software) to implement some of the defined test cases. Implement them in Nester’s Real Time Power System Simulation Laboratory and do a performance evaluation.

The outcome of the work should be cyber-security best practices for power system utilities.


Paulo Rogério Barreiros d'Almeida Pereira



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