Texas Tech University, Department of Computer Science
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Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Past Participation Gabriel Garza

Gabriel Garza


Creating a Zigbee Home Area Network Simulator for Smart Grid Security Research


The Smart Grid is the next generation of our current electrical grid that will use new and emerging wireless technologies to provide a new level of interoperability between the provider and consumer, with the potential to revolutionize power distribution and consumption. With the increase in communication security becomes a primary concern within all levels of the Smart Grid, including Home Area Networks (HAN) that use ZigBee wireless technology. ZigBee is a low-power and low-cost wireless protocol, but due to these feature the security for ZigBee communication has not been developed. This research is focused on expanding and refining a ZigBee HAN simulation by experimenting with different wireless attack scenarios as a test bed for studying preventive measures. The simulation allows the user to vary the ZigBee security level between the standard and a high level of security, which alters the communication functionality between devices. Using the current version of the simulation a Denial of Service (DoS) was successfully executed resulting in all devices connected to the network being momentarily unresponsive. The Intruder agent developed is also capable of performing Back-Off time attacks, reading through a ZigBee sniffer packet capture file to extract important information, and impersonating devices to falsely report power usage. This project has helped to establish a working research base for future study on security patterns using the ZigBee HAN.


Gabriel Garza - Poster