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Cyber-attacks in modular multilevel converters

Burgos-Mellado, Claudio; Donoso, Felipe; Dragicevic, Tomislav; Cardenas-Dobson, Roberto; Wheeler, Patrick; Clare, Jon C.; Watson, Alan J.

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Claudio Burgos-Mellado

Felipe Donoso

Tomislav Dragicevic

Roberto Cardenas-Dobson

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Professor of Power Electronics


Distributed control of modular multilevel converter (MMC) submodules offers several potential benefits such as flexibility and modularity. In this approach, low-level control tasks, such as capacitor voltage balancing, can be distributed amongst controllers placed in the SMs. This decreases the computational burden for the central control system that performs high-level control tasks. Distributed control architecture requires a cyber-physical network (CFN) through which local controllers share all the information necessary to perform their respective control loops. To date, none of the reported works in this field have paid attention to potential imperfections in the CFN. Indeed, previous works are based on the assumption that the network always provides correct information to the local controllers. However, erroneous measurements in the CFN may degrade the distributed control scheme operation, leading to suboptimal or even unstable operation. These events can occur in the presence of cyber-attacks. This paper is the first to investigate the impacts of cyber-attacks in MMCs. The effects of a specific cyber-attack, named false data injection attack (FDIA), on a consensus-based distributed control strategy are studied. Additionally, a method for detecting FDIAs is proposed, along with a countermeasure strategy, to ensure the safe operation of the MMC. The proposals reported in this paper are validated using simulation and experimental results.


Burgos-Mellado, C., Donoso, F., Dragicevic, T., Cardenas-Dobson, R., Wheeler, P., Clare, J. C., & Watson, A. J. (2022). Cyber-attacks in modular multilevel converters. IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 22, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 1, 2022
Publication Date Feb 1, 2022
Deposit Date Feb 16, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 16, 2022
Journal IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics
Print ISSN 0885-8993
Electronic ISSN 1941-0107
Publisher Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Electrical and Electronic Engineering
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