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Authentication of smart grid communications using quantum key distribution...

by Muneer Alshowkan, Philip G Evans, Michael R Starke, Duncan Earl, Nicholas A Peters
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Scientific Reports
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Smart grid solutions enable utilities and customers to better monitor and control energy use via information and communications technology. Information technology is intended to improve the future electric grid’s reliability, efficiency, and sustainability by implementing advanced monitoring and control systems. However, leveraging modern communications systems also makes the grid vulnerable to cyberattacks. Here we report the first use of quantum key distribution (QKD) keys in the authentication of smart grid communications. In particular, we make such demonstration on a deployed electric utility fiber network. The developed method was prototyped in a software package to manage and utilize cryptographic keys to authenticate machine-to-machine communications used for supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). This demonstration showcases the feasibility of using QKD to improve the security of critical infrastructure, including future distributed energy resources (DERs), such as energy storage.