Basque organisations develop and implement comprehensive cybersecurity measures for industrial electrical components and systems

The CINCOSEI project sought to provide a specific cybersecurity response to the electricity sector.

Participants included: Electrotécnica Arteche Smart Grid, Ormazabal Protection & Automation, Ingeteam Power Technology, ZIV Aplicaciones y Tecnología, IKOR SISTEMAS ELECTRÓNICOS, RKL Integral, IKERLAN and the GAIA Cluster.

Completed in December, the project had the support of the Basque Government through the Hazitek 2020 R&D support programme and was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Many companies from different sectors currently see and share the need to address product cybersecurity in the short term in order to remain competitive. There is, therefore, a shared interest in an area (cybersecurity), which requires high technological specialisation, a lot of training and innovative tools. Companies in the electricity sector (mainly component manufacturers) see the need for cybersecurity over the shorter term since this sector is one step ahead of the others. This offers the opportunity to weave cross-collaborations with the shared interest of companies as the backbone to improving product cybersecurity.

Faced with this reality, various entities and companies in the Basque Autonomous Community have worked on the Comprehensive Cybersecurity in Industrial Electronic Components and Systems project (CINCOSEI). Its objective: to develop cybersecurity measures aimed at electronic components, which are adapted to their specific requirements (real-time, functional safety, robustness, resilience), without diminishing functionality or usability. Public-private collaboration is fundamental to reinforcing synergies between different products.

To achieve this, several companies that supply components in electrical networks have implemented the comprehensive cybersecurity measures developed within the framework of the CINCOSEI project: Electrotécnica Arteche Smart Grid, Ormazabal Protection & Automation, Ingeteam Power Technology, ZIV Aplicaciones y Tecnología Likewise, the manufacturing company IKOR SISTEMAS ELECTRONICOS, and the service provider RKL Integral, took part, with the active collaboration of IKERLAN and the GAIA Cluster.

Collaboration during the project has allowed the development of procedures adapted to the particular needs of each company, as it is necessary to consider cybersecurity management throughout the product life cycle, starting at conception, and covering the development and manufacturing phases, operation and recycling. There has been an increase in the levels of training, the use of technologies and the knowledge of the participating companies with the shared objective of generating a culture of product cybersecurity.

In addition to the technological objectives, the CINCOSEI project has increased the competitiveness of the participating companies, improving their position in the market, introducing new methodologies, tools, models and processes, as well as the necessary skills into the Basque ecosystem. This has enabled companies in this and other sectors that develop electronic products to incorporate the most advanced cybersecurity measures into their products.

As a result of the project, it is expected to generate new business based on the services demanded by companies to protect, certify, monitor and respond to cybersecurity incidents associated with their products. It is an area in which very strong growth is expected in the coming years. According to ENISA, it is expected that 30% of the product development effort in this sector will be determined by its level of cybersecurity and that 20% of the budget will be dedicated annually to operations.  Given the increasing digitalisation of the network, robust business growth is expected.

The GAIA Cluster underlines the culture of collaborative innovation in Euskadi that this and other projects highlight, as well as the fact that the Basque Autonomous Community has the ideal ecosystem for tackling challenging projects successfully.

Product safety as an added value

CINCOSEI has made it possible for companies to define and implement a cybersecurity product development life cycle: “This is one of the most remarkable results and has the greatest impact on the business opportunities offered by the project. This life cycle will enable the manufacture of safer products, offering remarkable added value compared to the competition. Likewise, CINCOSEI will accelerate the adaptation of companies and their development processes to the new needs of the connected industry,” according to GAIA and CYBASQUE.

Furthermore, “as a complement to the implementation of the cybersecurity product development life cycle, new manufacturing, operational and maintenance procedures will be created. Improving the security level of these processes implies, for example: the correct management of sensitive information, the appropriate load of intellectual property in the devices during the manufacturing process, monitoring of relevant events, rigorous management of cybersecurity incidents, etc. All these improvements in the procedures have a positive impact on the end product and, at the same time, enable the creation of new services and businesses,” the GAIA Cluster explains.

“"This initiative is the result of the commitment of the Basque Government and the BCSC to transform our industry into a cybersecurity industry, increasing its competitiveness and securing its place among the technological vanguard," says CYBASQUE.

The work of the CINCOSEI project will also allow, among other things, the anticipation of future regulations that affect products and processes.