On security and privacy of consensus-based protocols in blockchain and smart grid

Mandal, Avikarsha

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URL: https://madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/55715
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-557155
Document Type: Doctoral dissertation
Year of publication: 2020
Place of publication: Mannheim
University: Universität
Evaluator: Armknecht, Frederik
Date of oral examination: 22 June 2020
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Business Informatics and Mathematics > Kryptographie (Juniorprofessur) (Armknecht 2010-2015)
Subject: 004 Computer science, internet
Keywords (English): consensus , security , fork , blockchain , ripple, privacy , energy optimization, economic dispatch , smart grid , critical infrastructure protection , secure multiparty computation (MPC)
Abstract: In recent times, distributed consensus protocols have received widespread attention in the area of blockchain and smart grid. Consensus algorithms aim to solve an agreement problem among a set of nodes in a distributed environment. Participants in a blockchain use consensus algorithms to agree on data blocks containing an ordered set of transactions. Similarly, agents in the smart grid employ consensus to agree on specific values (e.g., energy output, market-clearing price, control parameters) in distributed energy management protocols. This thesis focuses on the security and privacy aspects of a few popular consensus-based protocols in blockchain and smart grid. In the blockchain area, we analyze the consensus protocol of one of the most popular payment systems: Ripple. We show how the parameters chosen by the Ripple designers do not prevent the occurrence of forks in the system. Furthermore, we provide the conditions to prevent any fork in the Ripple network. In the smart grid area, we discuss the privacy issues in the Economic Dispatch (ED) optimization problem and some of its recent solutions using distributed consensus-based approaches. We analyze two state of the art consensus-based ED protocols from Yang et al. (2013) and Binetti et al. (2014). We show how these protocols leak private information about the participants. We propose privacy-preserving versions of these consensus-based ED protocols. In some cases, we also improve upon the communication cost.

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