MIAMI ― FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing researchers have received a $2 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help develop technology to prevent, detect, analyze and mitigate cyberattacks against U.S. energy systems.

“Our FIU team is very experienced in cybersecurity and smart energy grids. We are proud to lead the project to advance state-of-the-art methods in cyberattack detection and to harden our power grids,” said Mohammad Ashiqur Rahman, the lead principal investigator and assistant professor and the director of the Analytics for Cyber Defense (ACyD) Lab. “Protecting the security of America’s power is crucial as we face increasing cyber threats.”

The project, entitled “Artificial Intelligence-Enabled Tools (ArtIT) for Cyber Hardening of Power Grids,” involves developing artificial intelligence techniques and analytics that identify attacks in real-time and creating intelligent controllers to enhance the bulk power system’s attack resiliency. The team will then validate and test the tools in collaboration with utility and industry partners.

“Each element of the project tackles a specific problem,” Rahman said. “For example, an important piece is enhancing the moving target defense, a strategy used to confuse cyber attackers. They think they know who they are attacking, but in reality, we have changed the measures so that the attack applies to a different set of targets ― a set not susceptible to their tactics. This deception makes it easier to detect and mitigate an attack in real-time.”

The project is one of six new research, development and demonstration projects funded by the DOE for a total of $12 million. In addition to FIU, these awards are going to university teams at Iowa State University, New York University, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

“This funding will bolster our commitment to a secure and resilient clean energy future by fortifying American electricity systems and building a stronger grid,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

Rahman is joined by FIU’s Sumit Paudyal, associate professor; Kemal Akkaya, professor; and Selcuk Uluagac, associate professor ― all from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. They have partnered with researchers at North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Raytheon Technologies Research Center and Duke Energy Corporation.

“That FIU is leading the way on research vital to our country is a testament to our faculty’s expertise in cybersecurity and power grid security,” said John L. Volakis, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “I’d like to congratulate and thank all team members. They are innovators who are making a difference in our community and far beyond.”

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