Stronger together in cyber security innovation

Cyberattacks happen anytime, anywhere. Society faces a great need to prevent or repel them. The necessary knowledge and expertise are scarce yet, at the same time, essential. Collaboration is crucial to this: the collective is always stronger than the individual. ABN-AMRO, Achmea, ING, de Volksbank and TNO all see this need for collaboration and are joining forces. As of July 2020, they form the Partnership for Cyber Security Innovation (PCSI).

More information?

Contact Reinder Wolthuis, program manager PCSI


Unique form of cooperation

The PCSI specifically focuses its attention on innovation within the cybersecurity domain. The shared intention is crystal clear: the results of research and projects should help society to defend itself against tomorrow’s cyberattacks. Through intensive collaboration via an innovative ecosystem, the PCSI partners take a unique approach to connecting applied research, current data and problems from society within the field of cybersecurity.

"More and more parts of our society are dependent on information and technology. Proper information security has always been important but this is true even more today. Cooperation between industry, universities and others provides faster and smarter responses to new technologies but also to new threats. PCSI is the perfect platform to facilitate this cooperation and is the next step beyond an already proven very succesful cooperation." Martijn Dekker, Chief Information Security Officer ABN AMRO

Topical themes as a basis for projects

The PCSI works in an agile manner. Relevant themes are identified and periodically updated via a Security Radar. Project ideas are then generated within the Ideation Workshops for the themes that are selected. The selected ideas go into a staged innovation process in which they are reviewed every three months to see whether a next step will boost the value of the result. If not, the project is discontinued and the best possible ‘landing place’ in society is sought out for the results achieved so far. The learning points of the staged innovation process are taken into account in the subsequent selection of themes.

The process of collaborative orchestrating innovation in cyber security

First projects

Meanwhile, the first Ideation Workshop has taken place and three projects have been selected to enter the Explore Phase of the staged innovation process. These are explained in brief below.

1. Crystal ball DDoS detection

The idea here is to investigate whether new DDoS attacks can be predicted before they have an actual impact. This is comparable to the approach of tsunami warnings. We analyse public and private data using AI techniques

2. Security journey

With this idea, we are investigating whether the ‘customer journey methodology’ of marketers can be used to make employees more security-aware so that security incidents caused by human behaviour can be reduced. Using Customer Journey Mapping, marketers identify the purchasing process of prospects from the first contact through to the purchase and eventual brand loyalty. This allows you to experience, visualise and improve processes from the customer’s point of view. For the security journey, we use data-driven AI tooling to identify internal processes and define the right steps for each role involved.

Example of the security journey of a new cyber security employee

3. Collaborative deception fleet

A ‘honey pot’ is a system or systems set up for the specific purpose of tempting attackers to target it. By monitoring this behaviour, the manner in which attackers operate can be identified. However, these honey pots are frequently generic and the information is often not shared.

The idea of this project is to combine information from a large number of honey pots which are arranged in such a way that they cannot be distinguished from the real organisation. This is done to get a better picture of the attackers and their methods. Collaborating and sharing information makes it possible to gain strategic insights that would otherwise not be possible for individual organisations.

“Within PCSI, TNO aims to co-develop and pilot new approaches in cybersecurity, by working and teaming with the best. As cybersecurity is increasingly dependent on addressing vulnerabilities across chains and organizations, cooperation in this area has become a necessity. TNO has a long term commitment to foster cybersecurity innovation and with PCSI we create a new chapter in our six year running shared research program with our partners.”
Berry Vetjens, Director Market of Unit ICT TNO

“To pursue our empowering purpose, ING has to stay a step ahead of the cybersecurity challenges we’re facing now and in the future. This requires collaboration, innovation and access to collective knowledge and data. That’s why our cybersecurity team is keen to be a part of the PCSI ecosystem. Together we can develop cutting-edge solutions that contribute to a safer and more secure digital future for everyone.”
Beate Zwijnenberg, global chief information security officer ING

Want to learn more about the Partnership for Cyber Security Innovation?

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Reinder Wolthuis, MSc

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