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Cyber-security research earns ORAU award

An Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) professor at The Ohio State University was recently awarded by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) for her ongoing work in protecting power grids from cyber attack.

Beating out 132 applicants for a $5,000 prize, professor Jiankang “JK” Wang is among just 35 selected to win the ORAU 2016 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. It provides seed money for research by junior faculty at ORAU member institutions.

Part of Wang's research at Ohio State is geared toward finding ways to enhance cyber-security of power grids from what are known as Monitoring Layer (ML) attacks.

“Once penetrating through network security screening, ML attacks are almost impossible to be detected,” her research explains. “This creates, for an attacker, many opportunities to access and falsify the measurements.”

According to her work, these false measurements are then used to manipulate the power system’s operation. To combat this, she delves further into an attacker’s ultimate goal, rather than dealing solely on the method of attack.

The full cyber-security research, which Wang conducted with Center for High Performance Power Electronics graduate student co-author Christian Moya Calderon, is scheduled to appear in a future IEEE Xplore edition.

Wang joined the faculty at Ohio State in January 2014 with a joint appointment in ECE and Integrated Systems Engineering. Her research focuses on emerging technologies of modern power system operation and planning, electricity markets, reconfiguration, demand side management, distributed generation and renewable energy. These technologies represent a highly promising trend of power system evolution.

As a consortium of 121 major Ph.D.–granting academic institutions, ORAU supports collaborative partnerships intended to enhance the scientific research and education enterprise across the nation.

According to ORAU, “The awards are intended to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty and result in new funding opportunities.”