Vulnerability of synchrophasor-based WAMPAC applications' to time synchronization spoofing

M.S. Almas, L. Vanfretti, Ravi S. Singh, Gudrun M. Jonsdottir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


This paper experimentally assesses the impact of time synchronization spoofing attacks (TSSA) on synchrophasor-based wide-area monitoring, protection and control (WAMPAC) applications. Phase angle monitoring, anti-islanding protection, and power oscillation damping applications are investigated. TSSA are created using a real-time (RT) IRIG-B signal generator and power system models are executed using an RT simulator with commercial phasor measurement units (PMUs) coupled to them as hardware-in-the-loop. Because PMUs utilize time synchronization signals to compute synchrophasors, an error in the PMUs' time input introduces a proportional phase error in the voltage or current phase measurements provided by the PMU. The experiments conclude that a phase angle monitoring application will show erroneous power transfers, whereas the anti-islanding protection mal-operates and the damping controller introduces negative damping in the system as a result of the time synchronization error incurred in the PMUs due to TSSA. The proposed test-bench and TSSA approach can be used to investigate the impact of TSSA on any WAMPAC application and to determine the time synchronization error threshold that can be tolerated by these WAMPAC applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7845713
Pages (from-to)4601-4612
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Phasor measurement unit (PMU)
  • Power system protection
  • Smart grid
  • Spoofing
  • Synchrophasors
  • Time synchronization attack


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