Smart grids that leverage digital technology to improve reliability and efficiency in power distribution face unprecedented demands for network security. We propose the use of an identity-based cryptography (IBC) system as a way to provide security solutions for safeguarding the communications in smart grid networks. The proposed system allows a message sender to calculate the per-packet encryption key based on the identity of the message receiver, without going through the expensive key exchange process. This feature, which greatly simplifies the system setup and reduces the data traffic for the key exchange, is particularly useful in smart grids. We implemented the proposed system in both computer workstation and embedded controller environments and proved that the system is effective, scalable, and flexible in providing strong data encryption and message authentication for smart grid networks.
King-Shan Lui received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include network protocols design, QoS issues, network security, and smart grids. She has published more than 30 refereed journal papers and two patents. She is also a recipient of the US Cisco Research Initiative Award.