Cybersecurity 4.0 | Strategic and case-specific cybersecurity - for Industry 4.0 in SMEs

Financed by
CyberSecurity 4.0 develops a pragmatic approach to enable SMEs to secure their connected production systems and Industry 4.0 applications appropriately.


Industry 4.0 spurs a rapid digitization of the manufacturing industry. However, the connected data-driven production systems cause the exponential growth of the exposed legacy connection points and sensitive data exchange. Today, manufacturing SMEs and their suppliers insufficiently mitigate these cybersecurity risks due to the lack of accessible knowledge and solutions tailored to their needs. This leads to a greater impact of cybersecurity incidents and data breaches. Drastic increase in organized cybercrime brings entire production lines to a long standstill. 
In a connected digitized world, cyber security is not an option but a critical factor for business continuity and reputation. 


CyberSecurity 4.0 wants to enable SMEs to secure their connected production systems and Industry 4.0 applications appropriately. Specifically for the Industry 4.0 context, the project develops an accessible, low-threshold and SME-oriented cybersecurity framework, techniques and tools (with proven ROI), guidelines, a demonstrator and learning environment. This leads to lower costs of cyberattacks and data breaches, to the ability to comply with cybersecurity requirements and to increase trust of partners.
The project focuses on the most vulnerable and least addressed domains of cybersecurity for Industry 4.0: operation technology, supply chain and data exchange. The pragmatic solution can be tailored to the specific situation of an SME.
The results contribute to the strategic cybersecurity plans in Flanders and Germany by supporting the security awareness, strategy and implementation with a solution that can be tailored to the specific situation of an SME.

Approach and results

A pragmatic approach, where you can expect the following deliverables:

  • Generic business profiles, use cases and SME needs for connected manufacturing systems security.
  • Three maturity models for cybersecurity (basic - standard - advanced), linked to the 'Industry 4.0 Maturity Index', support an approach tailored to the SME. 
  • A methodology and tool to estimate current and required cyber maturity for Industry 4.0 applications (cybersecurity risks, vulnerabilities), as a starting point for initiating measures.
  • An easily deployable cybersecurity framework with AI-supported tools, practical guidelines and relevant measures specific to the business profile, case and target maturity level. 
  • A demonstrator integrates all results in the connected manufacturing lab of Sirris and the HOWEST living lab. 
  • Use-cases illustrate possible attack angles and how the maturity levels deal with them. 
  • A learning environment with gamification approach and hands-on workshop "Cybersecurity for Industry 4.0" support the knowledge transfer and allow SMEs to experiment. 
  • An interactive web tool provides access to the learning environment, tools and guidelines.

Digitalisation of production canNOT take place if cyber-security issues are not addressed! By applying a robust cyber-security framework, the project increases (confidence in) cybersecurity by drastically reducing risks. This can accelerate the transition to Industry 4.0 and make it cybersecure. The SME can build a reputation and gain customers.

Target group

CyberSecurity 4.0 targets SME manufacturers and their production technology and cyber-security technology providers. CyberSecurity4.0 aims at facilitating the partnership between manufacturing SMEs and providers of cyber-security technology and services. The latter benefit from integrating the guidelines and solutions in their service portfolio and open-up new or extend markets in manufacturing.


Cybersecurity 4.0



VLAIO CORNET COOCK Cybersecurity 4.0

Project partners

  • Sirris
  • FIR at RWTH Aachen
  • IDA FH Aachen
  • Howest

Join forces for CyberSecurity4.0 and bring in complementary skills to develop the applicable cybersecurity solutions for SMEs. The partners collaborate with an active user committee, which combines all stakeholders: manufacturing companies, production technology providers (equipment manufacturers and integrators) and cybersecurity technology providers.


Nov 2021 - Oct 2023

Our experts

Do you have a question?

Send them to