IEEE Security & Privacy logo Energy Sector Control Systems


Final submissions due: 1 March, 2014
Abstracts due 1 January 2014 to the guest editors: Sean Peisert, 
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Davis, and Jonathan Margulies, National Institute of Standards and Technology (

Publication date: November/December 2014

Control systems used in the energy sector present unusual security and reliability challenges: The installed base is often decades old, systems are commonly installed in adverse physical conditions, bandwidth and communication reliability can be very low, with tight performance timelines, and, most important, failure can result in destruction of critical physical systems or loss of life.

This special issue seeks articles that can help lead to solutions that can be shown to improve the security and reliability of power systems, including control systems related to generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption or use, such as in industrial plant operations, commercial buildings, or homes. Such solutions might be purely technical, or could be social, policy-related, or some combination.

Articles should address questions such as:

  • Very few techniques from "traditional" computer security and information technology (IT) can be shown to demonstrably improve security and reliability of the systems they seek to protect.
    • Are there techniques that exist for control systems that make the problem more tractable?
    • Are there challenges that make the problem even worse? How can those be surmounted?
  • How can safety engineering traditionally used with control systems be married with computer security techniques traditionally used in IT?
  • How do current policies, laws, and regulations help or hinder security for power-related controls systems? What policy changes might be useful to improving control system security & reliability?
  • What privacy problems or solutions exist in relation to electric power control systems?


We welcome case studies, experience reports, practices, research results, and standards reports. Our readers are eager to hear about industry experiences, especially resulting from empirical studies that help us learn how past successes and failures should inform new technology or practices. We are also interested in failures, either in research, development, or operations, that can convey valuable learning experience.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions will be subject to the IEEE Computer Society's peer-review process. Articles should be at most 6,000 words, with a maximum of 15 references, and should be understandable to a broad audience of people interested in security and privacy. The writing style should be down to earth, practical, and original. Authors should not assume that the audience will have specialized experience in a particular subfield. All accepted articles will be edited according to the IEEE Computer Society style guide. Submit abstracts to the guest editors, and submit your papers to Scholar­One at