Minimizing private data disclosures in the smart grid

Weining Yang, Ninghui Li, Yuan Qi, Wahbeh Qardaji, Stephen McLaughlin, Patrick McDaniel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

113 Scopus citations


Smart electric meters pose a substantial threat to the privacy of individualsin their own homes. Combined with non-intrusive load monitors, smartmeter data can reveal precise home appliance usage information. An emerging solution to behavior leakage in smart meter measurement data is the use of battery-based load hiding. In this approach, a battery is used to store and supply power to home devices at strategic times to hide appliance loads from smartmeters. A few such battery control algorithms have already been studied in the literature, but none have been evaluated from an adversarial point of view. In this paper, we first consider two well known battery privacy algorithms, Best Effort (BE) and Non-Intrusive Load Leveling (NILL), and demonstrate attacks that recover precise load change information, which can be used to recover appliance behavior information, under both algorithms. We then introduce a stepping approach to battery privacy algorithms that fundamentally differs from previous approaches by maximizing the error between the load demanded by a home and the external load seen by a smart meter. By design, precise load change recovery attacks are impossible. We also propose mutual-information based measurements to evaluate the privacy of different algorithms. We implement and evaluate four novel algorithms using the stepping approach, and show that under the mutual-information metrics they outperform BE and NILL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCCS'12 - Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2012
Event2012 ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS 2012 - Raleigh, NC, United States
Duration: Oct 16 2012Oct 18 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
ISSN (Print)1543-7221


Other2012 ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityRaleigh, NC

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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