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Salles-Loustau, G., Garcia, L., Sun, P., Dehnavi, M., Zonouz, S..  2017.  Power Grid Safety Control via Fine-Grained Multi-Persona Programmable Logic Controllers. 2017 IEEE International Conference on Smart Grid Communications (SmartGridComm). :283–288.

Trustworthy and safe operation of the power grid critical infrastructures relies on secure execution of low-level substation controller devices such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Currently, there are very few security protection solutions deployed on these devices to ensure provenance control: to execute controller code on the device that is developed by trusted parties and complies with safety/security policies that are defined by the code developer as well as the power grid operators. Resource-limited PLC controllers have been becoming increasingly popular among not only legitimate system operators, but also malicious adversaries such as the most recent Stuxnet and BlackEnergy malware that caused various damages such as unauthorized infrastructural safety and integrity violations. We present PLCtrust, a domain-specific solution that deploys virtual micro security-perimeters, so-called capsules, and the corresponding device-level runtime power system-safety policy enforcement dynamically. PLCtrust makes use of data taint analysis to monitor and control data flow among the capsules based on data owner-defined policies. PLCtrust provides the operators with a transparent and lightweight solution to address various safety-critical data protection requirements. PLCtrust also provides the legitimate third-party controller code developers with a taint-aware programming interface to develop applications in compliance with the dynamic power system safety/security policies. Our experimental results on real-world settings show that PLCtrust is transparent to the end-users while ensuring the power grid safety maintenance with minimal performance overhead.