Power System Parameter Attack for Financial Profits in Electricity Markets

Hanchen Xu, Yuzhang Lin, Xiangyu Zhang, Fei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Maintaining an accurate power system model is crucial for a variety of applications such as electricity markets. In this paper, the cyber security issue induced by critical parameters in electricity market operations is investigated. Critical parameters are a set of model parameters the errors of which cannot be detected due to the lack of local measurements. In this paper, it is first proven that the criticality property of parameters is independent from system operating points, i.e., the maliciously injected errors will always remain undetectable. Then, the cyber attack against critical parameters is formulated as a bilevel programming problem in search of the optimal attack strategy or the worst situation faced by the system operators. An effective algorithm for solving this problem is also provided. Simulation results verify that by injecting undetectable errors into critical model parameters, the locational marginal prices in electricity markets can be significantly distorted, which leads to financial benefits for the attackers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9018248
Pages (from-to)3438-3446
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Parameter error detection
  • cyber attack
  • electricity markets
  • particle swarm optimization
  • state estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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