CYBIC, Cyber Security of Critical Infrastructures: OT networks in view

02 November 2021

The research project CYBer security of Critical Infrastructures (CYBIC) has been completed. CYBIC was aimed at developing a solution to automate critical infrastructures’ security monitoring with a focus on OT (Operational Technology) networks to promptly and effectively identify potential attacks to the infrastructure’s control network, thus improving its cyber security.

In the project, included in the 2014-2020 Regional Operational Program, Leonardo's Cyber Security Division designed the Monitoring Solution architecture acting as a "Design Authority". Together with the CNR, Leonardo also analysed and defined a security assessment framework applied to two specific critical infrastructures used in the project and oversaw the development and testing phases.

A real experimentation: The Living Labs

CYBIC included a phase of testing the results in the naval and energy sectors using two real infrastructures as living labs.

  • The first is the Smart Polygeneration Microgrid, a micro-grid for intelligent production and distribution of electrical and thermal energy, able to manage the energy demand coming from users of the Savona university campus of the University of Genoa.
  • The second infrastructure used as a living lab was the Ship Power Management System, the Control System of the systems generating and distributing the electricity needed by the elements of a ship. The control system was made available by SEASTEMA, a company of the FINCANTIERI group.

For this purpose, a Temporary Joint Venture – coordinated by ABB Energy Industries and made up of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Ligurian territory associated with the SOSIA Research Center – has been set up.

The project phases

After an initial phase of study, analysis and integration of the reference standards at national and international level in terms of security assessment, a methodological framework was defined. This framework was applied to the two infrastructures used for the experimentation, leading to the identification of specific risks and vulnerabilities. From these results, the overall architecture of the solution was then designed.

Finally, using the mathematical models of the infrastructures, Smart Polygeneration Microgrid and Ship Power Management, various attack scenarios were designed and executed to assess the resilience and effectiveness of the implemented solution.

The safety of operating technology

For Leonardo's Cyber Security Division, CYBIC project is part of the Cyber Decision Support System product development roadmap, which aims to offer operators an advanced tool for situational awareness and to support the identification of the best course of action to be implemented for the mitigation of detected threats.

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