Security

Key Management for Substations: Symmetric Keys, Public Keys or No Keys?

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Executive Summary

In this paper, the authors discuss symmetric-key and public key protocols for key management in electricity transmission and distribution substations - both for communication within substations, and between substations and the network control center. Key management in the electricity network is widely regarded as a challenging problem, not only because of the scale, but also due to the fact that any mechanism must be implemented in resource-constrained environments. NISTIR 7628, the foundation document for the architecture of the US Smart Grid, mentions key management as one of the most important research areas, and the IEC 62351 standards committee has already initiated a new specification dedicated to key management.

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