H2020 ATENA (Advanced Tools to assEss and mitigate the criticality of ICT compoNents and their dependencies over Critical InfrAstructures)


Over recent years, IACS (Industrial and Automation Control Systems) and SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems adopted in Critical Infrastructures (CI), such as smart grids, water, oil and gas distribution networks, have become more complex due to the increasing number of interconnected distributed devices, sensors and actuators, often widely dispersed in the field, and the larger amount of information exchanged among system components. Such systems need to be flexibly and securely configured, monitored, and managed to prevent the in-creasing of risks due to both operational errors and cyber-attacks, including intrusions and malware that could compromise their operations or even result in disasters. With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) generation of IACS, the boundaries of the protected infrastructures are growing well beyond the single or aggregated-plant, mono-operator vision. Instead of monolithic systems, deployed on geographically constrained spaces, these systems are characterize by a considerable degree of capillarity, being dispersed over wide geographic areas, with increasingly small coverage as they progress towards periphery. This poses new challenges because, as the boundaries of the IACS expand towards households, they in-volve several other operators, such as telecommunications or utility providers, in a scenario that naturally demands the introduction of multi-tenancy mechanisms. The new ICT paradigms, where virtualization is playing an important role (e.g., Software Defined Network-ing/Network Function Virtualization – SDN/NFV, Infrastructure as a service and Software as a service – IaaS, SaaS), provide interesting new features for flexibly and efficiently managing, monitoring and controlling devices and data traffic. Unfortunately, with the OT/IT convergence, OT (Operation Technologies) will benefit of the new features coming from IT, but will also inherit IT new threats that potentially can impact CIs. Therefore, in such in-creasingly sophisticated and networked scenarios, the current approach to Cyber Security for IACSs has to be im-proved with new tools and models capable to protect the whole value chain of a CI. To keep pace of escalating risk levels, while preserving efficient and flexible management of CIs, ATENA project aims at leveraging the outcomes from previous European Research activities, particularly from CockpitCI and MICIE EU projects and pushes at innovating them by exploiting advanced features of ICT and Cyber Security, to be tailored and validated in selected Use Cases, in order to be adopted at operational industrial maturity level. Within this aim, the project not only proposes an innovative and modernised logical framework with design improvements of role, operation, architecture, and security components for IACSs, exploiting also Software Defined Networking and Software Defined Security paradigms, but recommends equipment and algorithms devoted to patch already existing IACSs without the disruption of current services.



Leonardo, Sapienza SL, IEC, CREOS, SWDE, itrust, Multitel, ENEA, IBS, CRAT, University du Luxembourg, University of Roma Tre, University of Coïmbra


Critical Infrastructure Security

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Journal Articles


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Conference Articles


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