Consortium targets automatic prevention of cyber attacks

Thema:
Cyber risks and chain effects
cyber weerbaarheid
28 September 2020

The Automated Security Operations (ASOP) consortium launched in September 2020 with the support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK). Over the next 3 years, the consortium will work within a public-private partnership between Dutch cybersecurity companies, public organisations and TNO to develop an automated security platform that will enable organisations to automatically and more quickly detect and respond to cyberattacks.

The consortium formation and implementation programme is building on an exploratory phase enabled by the financial backing of the Province of South Holland, the municipality of The Hague and the Rotterdam-The Hague Metropolitan Region (MRDH).

The Cybersecuritybeeld Nederland 2020 document outlines the permanence of the digital threat to national security. Most organisations can hardly keep up with the speed and developments of these digital threats at the moment. The Security Knowledge and Innovation Agenda (KIA) reveals that organisations throughout the entire chain see the automation of cyber security activities as an important solution for maintaining resilience with limited capacity.

The Netherlands is experiencing fast-growing digitalisation of processes and services and has thus acquired a strong economic position. In order to be able to continue to take advantage of the economic and societal opportunities, we need to have confidence in the digital world and be able to move securely within it.

Cybersecurity: a basic prerequisite for a secure society

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Recent cyberattacks on the municipality of Lochem and Maastricht University show how significant the consequences can be for organisations, their employees and citizens. Cybersecurity is a basic prerequisite for a prosperous and secure society in the 21st century.

Security Operation Centres (SOCs) are considered crucial in detecting attacks and are at the heart of most cybersecurity strategies. Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly automated and, as a result, human intervention is no longer sufficient as a means to counter them.

The ASOP consortium therefore wants to develop a game-changing integral modular platform for security operations. The platform must guarantee a high degree of interoperability between security products, and be scalable so that a high degree of automation is enabled for security operations, making it easier for the entire chain of end users, system integrators and developers to proactively and reactively repel (complex) cyberattacks.

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In the first phase, the consortium focuses on the development of a multi-annual implementation programme to create a targeted and effective cybersecurity approach within a cybersecurity ecosystem of public and private organisations.

The cybersecurity ecosystem is crucial for safeguarding the reliability and confidentiality of data and the continuity of the ICT networks and systems of cross-sectoral application areas, such as bridges and locks in the Province of South Holland.

Linking up with other private parties

Various companies offering cybersecurity solutions such as KPN, NetDialog, VMware, Cisco and Infradata have shown interest in this automated security platform. Cyberveilig Nederland (CVNL) and The Hague Security Delta (HSD) are involved in expanding the consortium even further with parties who wish to contribute to the development of the platform.

Providers of cybersecurity products will be involved in cooperating with HSD in order to be able to adaptively innovate their products and anticipate the arrival of an automated security platform.

The security of the vital infrastructure of Province of South-Holland and the continuity of the business processes of the Municipality of The Hague are among the first concrete use scenarios on which the platform is focusing in the collaboration.

In the future, a link-up will be sought with the cooperation platform for cybersecurity knowledge and innovation that is currently being established under the leadership of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

Automated Cybersecurity solutions

The major challenge for the implementation of cybersecurity solutions, including those based on AI, is that data must be exchanged on a large scale and at various levels in order to be able to immediately detect anomalies and act on them. An integral, cross-sectoral approach between public and private is a precondition for achieving automated cybersecurity solutions for threat and risk analysis, decision-making and responses that meet today’s challenges.

Through this collaboration, we are working towards the development of a modular and flexibly extensible security platform and the development and integration of SOC services automation in order to contribute to:

  • A secure and robust digital economy in the Netherlands for end-users of security products.
  • Improvements to the cybersecurity sector’s knowledge level so that they can continue to compete on a global level.
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Commissioned by the Province of South Holland, the Metropolitan Region Rotterdam-The Hague (MRDH) and the municipality of The Hague, the Automated Security consortium began establishing the implementation programme in the South Holland region in October 2019. By accelerating research and knowledge development in the field of automated security, the consortium is working on a cybersecurity policy through which South Holland leads the way internationally.

With the support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK), the Automated Security Operations (ASOP) consortium was launched in July 2020. The formation and implementation programme of the consortium builds on an exploratory phase carried out with financial contributions from the Province of South Holland, the municipality of The Hague and the MRDH. Over the next three years and in a public-private partnership between Dutch cybersecurity companies, public organisations and TNO, the consortium aims to develop an automated security platform which will enable organisations to detect and respond to automated cyberattacks more quickly.