Distributed Energy Resources Cybersecurity Outlook: Vulnerabilities, Attacks, Impacts, and Mitigations

Ioannis Zografopoulos, Nikos D. Hatziargyriou, Charalambos Konstantinou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The digitization and decentralization of the electric power grid are key thrusts for an economically and environmentally sustainable future. Toward this goal, distributed energy resources (DER), including rooftop solar panels, battery storage, electric vehicles, etc., are becoming ubiquitous in power systems. Power utilities benefit from DERs as they minimize operational costs; at the same time, DERs grant users and aggregators control over the power they produce and consume. DERs are interconnected, interoperable, and support remotely controllable features; thus, their cybersecurity is of cardinal importance. DER communication dependencies and the diversity of DER architectures widen the threat surface and aggravate the cybersecurity posture of power systems. In this work, we focus on security oversights that reside in the cyber and physical layers of DERs and can jeopardize grid operations. The existing works have underlined the impact of cyberattacks targeting DER assets; however, they either focus on specific system components (e.g., communication protocols), do not consider the mission-critical objectives of DERs, or neglect the adversarial perspective (e.g., adversary/attack models) altogether. To address these omissions, we comprehensively analyze adversarial capabilities and objectives when manipulating DER assets, and then present how protocol and device-level vulnerabilities can materialize into cyberattacks impacting power system operations. Finally, we provide mitigation strategies to thwart adversaries and directions for future DER cybersecurity research.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Systems Journal
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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