Hardware Oriented Security and Trust Based Smart Meters

Nitin Pundir and Mohammed Niamat
University of Toledo, Ohio, United States

Keywords: Smart Meters, Hardware Security, Physical Unclonable Functions, FPGA

This research aims at enhancing the security and trustworthiness of the smart Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) which is an integral part of today’s smart grid. The integration of secure and trustworthy information technology in the smart grid system facilitates effective and efficient energy management in the presence of distributed generation with renewable sources. However, the AMI is also vulnerable to adversarial attacks. An adversarial group can attack the smart grid by penetrating the grid through vulnerabilities in the AMI. The proposed Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) based smart meter provides an additional and unique layer of Hardware Oriented Security and Trust (HOST) to the system. Hardware oriented security is implemented by mapping novel Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs) on the FPGA within the smart meter. The PUFs not only provide additional security but also authenticate the smart meter by generating unique and secure challenge-response pairs. Our technology also incorporates Built in Self-Test (BIST), which regularly checks the FPGA fabric for faults and hardware failures, and can notify the utility company in case of a failure or an adversarial attack. Since FPGAs are re-programmable, new algorithms and designs can be embedded in the proposed smart meters thus making them ‘future proof’.