Take part in the living lab on NIS directive and AI for a safe Industry 4.0!

The Flemish government is again releasing € 3.5 million for ‘industry 4.0 living labs’. You can also take advantage of this! Network and Information Systems (NIS) security and cybersecurity are necessary for many existing and future services, from industry to government, although much remains to be done. This living lab deals with the practical application of the NIS directives for the security of industrial communication networks via AI.

Together with Howest, Sirris is taking the lead in two proposals for living labs about innovation by means of digital technology. Data analytics is an important theme within the vision of industry 4.0. One of these proposals for a living lab to tackle the challenges of Industry 4.0 is ‘NIS directives and artificial intelligence make Industry 4.0 safe’. This living lab will cover both the security of network and information systems, and security via detection.

Do you feel like joining the living lab about this topic and do you want to submit a project together with us?

Security of network and information systems

In its first project, the living lab aims to prepare society for the European Directive 2016/1148 on measures for a high common level of security of network and information systems in the European Union (NIS Directive), specifically with Industry 4.0 in mind. After all, many service providers for critical social or economic activities in Belgium depend on network and information systems. To date, however, our country did not have the required legislation to ensure its security. For this reason, a law is being drafted to transpose the NIS directive.

The potential of (Industrial) Internet of Things - (I)IoT - is enormous and the real economic value lies, among other things, in the data that is generated and used. It is therefore critical that these data and the access to them are protected, regulated and properly secured. With the arrival of Industry 4.0, systems will be connected and able to communicate. This will expose these environments, which until recently were completely isolated, to all kinds of external threats. However, the unique composition of these industrial systems means that the existing techniques and best practices from the IT domain cannot be applied. The living lab research focuses on the development of new techniques to evaluate the current state of an industrial system and to continuously monitor it for threats, in order to comply with European directives. The insights thus obtained form the basis for a targeted reduction of the risks within an industrial installation.

The living lab will interpret the NIS legislation and convert it into practically applicable rules tailored to the needs of Belgian companies. These will also be applied to a living lab environment, consisting of hardware that is representative of the hardware and configuration of these companies. After the rollout phase, the living lab will be used to make the NIS directives more tangible and practical for Flemish companies. The approach consists of general information sessions, technical workshops, one-to-one cooperation with companies and the development of new detection systems. This will create additional service opportunities for the Flemish industry.

Cybersecurity and detection via AI

Among the various measures implemented in the context of cybersecurity, the detection measures are especially recommended, especially for companies subject to the NIS regulation or intending to implement Industry 4.0. Indeed, many essential services depend on functioning and secure industrial control systems (ICS).

The aim of the second part of the living lab is to use deep learning techniques to make an intrusion detection system. This system has a 'self-learning' component allowing the system to recognise ‘normal’ behaviour and thus detect abnormal behaviour. It is a concrete AI application that adds extra value to existing tools, where human interpretation is too labour-intensive and much less efficient.

In order to successfully detect such anomalies with a good detection rate and an acceptable false alarm rate, a multi-dimensional analysis will be required on these multi-source data. These can then be demonstrated, proven and displayed in the proposed living lab.

A demonstrator will be developed within the living lab showing how companies can instrument their industrial communication networks with tools that extract data from the packages and pass on information to the AI engine. This then provides substantiated information about the state of quality, reliability and security of the industrial network. In this way, one of the requirements of NIS compliance is met. 

Are you interested in the themes of this living lab? Would you like to join a project? Please contact us!

The second topic for which Sirris and Howest are submitting a living lab proposal is 'Security, privacy and trust by design with blockchain for Industry 4.0'. Read all about it here.