Friday, March 14, 2014 - 8:45am to 9:45am
KEC 1007

Speaker Information

Rakesh Bobba
Research Assistant Professor
Information Trust Institute
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


The power grid comprises a large, geographically distributed, complex, electrical infrastructure that is monitored and controlled with the help of an equally complex cyber infrastructure. This exposes the grid to the threat of cyber attacks that could potentially damage the electrical infrastructure, threaten the safety of large numbers of people, and adversely impact our economic security and well being. The 2003 blackout of the Northeast was one of the largest in history and affected 50 Million people and is estimated to have cost us $14 Billion. While that event wasn’t caused by a cyber attack, Stuxnet, a computer virus discovered in 2010 demonstrated that cyber attacks could indeed be used to attack industrial control systems with catastrophic impact. This talk will address the problem of reliable power grid operation in the face of cyber attacks. Specifically, I will consider two central power grid applications, State Estimation (SE) and Contingency Analysis (CA). For State Estimation, I will show that leveraging electrical system properties can lead to efficient security solutions against false data injection attacks. For Contingency Analysis, I will present an approach to account for cyber-attack induced failures and go beyond the currently used “N – 1” reliability criterion. I will conclude with challenges in securing cyber-physical critical infrastructures and some future research directions.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Rakesh Bobba is a Research Assistant Professor in the Information Trust Institute ( at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with joint appointments in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Computer Science departments. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of Maryland at College Park. His research interests are in the design of secure and trustworthy networked and distributed computer systems, with a current focus on cyber-physical critical infrastructures. Dr. Bobba has authored (co-author) more than 30 peer-reviewed papers in premier conferences and journals in his field. His research is currently funded by DOE, ONR, AFRL/AFOSR, and NSF. Dr. Bobba serves on program committees of major international conferences and workshops such as IEEE SmartGridComm and ACM SAC to name but a few. He is a member of the IEEE, IEEE Computer Society and IEEE PES. For more information please visit