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TNO: Consortium targets automatic prevention of cyber attacks

The Automated Security Operations (ASOP) consortium launched in September 2020 with the support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK)

The Automated Security Operations (ASOP) consortium launched in September 2020 with the support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK). 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). 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 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.


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.

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.


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.


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