Over €4 million for 10 projects in third NWO National Cybersecurity Call

12 December 2019

NWO awarded over € 4 million to 10 projects in the NWO Call Cybersecurity - Digital Security & Privacy. Societal and private partners jointly co-finance € 1.4 million. With the Call Cyber Security - Digital Security & Privacy, NWO wants to facilitate the need for research collaboration across the entire cyber security chain. The average duration of the projects is four years.

The call is a joint initiative of NWO Science and NWO Social Sciences and Humanities, as well as the Task Force for Applied Research (NPRO- SIA).  The challenges we face in the digital domain are very real. On a daily basis Dutch society is threatened by cyberattacks in varying degrees of severity and from various actors. As societies become ever more digital, managing security risks is now more urgent than ever. It offers the possibility to realise fundamental and practice-oriented research in a single project and to produce results that contribute to the knowledge base within cyber security, which can also be used by the public and private partners within the projects in the relatively short term.

Funded projects resulting from the third NWO National Cybersecurity Call are:

SeReNity - Evidence-Based Security Response ceNters
Main applicant: Dr. L. (Luca) Allodi, TU/e
Co applicants: Dr. A. (Andreas) Peter, UT, Prof. dr. C.C.P. (Chris) Snijders, TU/e
Consortium partner: Bitdefender Netherlands B.V.

Cybersecurity Operation Centres monitor incoming threats, but are only useful for incident investigation (as opposed to prevention) because of the vast amount of generated incoming alerts. SeReNity will develop new technologies accounting for alarm prioritization that integrates with human expertise to enable Security Response Centres and stop attacks before it’s too late.

RAPID - Remediation of comPromised IoT Devices
Main applicant: Dr. ing. C. (Carlos) Hernández Ganan, TU Delft
Co applicants: Dr. ing. T. (Tobias) Fiebig, TU Delft, Prof. dr. M.J.G. (Michel) van Eeten, TU Delft
Consortium partners: Agentschap Telecom, SIDN Labs, AbuseHub, KPN

Despite the benefits of the widespread deployment of diverse Internet-enabled devices such as IP cameras and smart home appliances, the Internet-of-things has amplified the attack surface that is being leveraged by cyber criminals. Millions of IoT devices are infected and being misused for malicious purposes. The RAPID project aims at explaining the causes behind these infections; and promoting effective remediation mechanisms.

ISoLATE - Integrated distributed SCADA security through local approximations of power flow equations
Main applicant: Prof. dr. J.L. (Johann) Hurink, UT
Co applicant: Prof. dr. A.K.I. (Anne) Remke, UT
Consortium partners: Netbeheer, Smart State Technology

Renewable energy requires advanced control networks. To ensure safe and secure energy distribution in complex networks, we build an additional security layer: Using the grid topology and real-time
measurements from neighbouring stations, a model of the state of substations is maintained, which allows to identify malicious commands and false measurements.

E4A - Encryption for all
Main applicant: Prof. dr. B.P.F. Jacobs (RUN)  
Co applicants: Dr. H.K. (Hanna) Schraffenberger, RU Nijmegen, Dr. T.M. (Thea) van der Geest, HAN
Consortium partners: SURFnet, Privacy by Design Foundation, Nedap Healthcare, VGZ, Compumatica, Nijmegen Municipality

Encryption is a technology to protect the confidentiality of messages. New data protection regulation makes this more urgent than ever. However, existing techniques are too complicated. This project aims at broad adoption of encryption via a combination of advanced cryptographic techniques and human-centered design.

SHARE - Sharing data with cryptograpHic and differentiAlly pRivate guarantEes
Main applicant: Dr. A. (Andreas) Peter, UT
Co applicants: Dr. M.H. (Maarten) Everts, UT, Prof. dr. W. (Willem) Jonker, UT
Consortium partners: Centraal Ziekenfonds (CZ), TNO

The SHARE project develops advanced encryption techniques that allow for the sharing of sensitive data in encrypted form while enabling the private search on this encrypted data without the need to decrypt nor to reveal what is being searched for. SHARE applies these techniques in healthcare to protect medical data.

DISTANT - Defending against Implementation attackS Through mAchiNe learning Techniques
Main applicant: Dr. S.P. (Stjepan) Picek, TU Delft
Co applicant: Prof. dr. L. (Lejla) Batina, RU Nijmegen
Consortium partner: ST Microelectronics (Rousset, France)
Small devices like transportation and bank cards are typical targets for adversaries looking into creative ways to break them, often using various side channels. This proposal will consider machine learning algorithms in order to assess the strengths of such adversaries and to protect our devices and data.

SMOKE - Single-Mode Optical physical unclonable Keys
Main applicant: Prof. dr. P.W.H. Pinkse (UT)
Co applicants: Dr. C. (Chigo) Okonkwo, TU/e, Dr. B. (Boris) Škorić, TU/e
Consortium partner: Draka Comteq (Prysmian Group)

We apply Physical Unclonable Keys to secure the hardware of sensitive communication networks, in particular fiber and free-space links. We aim to develop a highly secure and practical authentication system based on optical quantum-readout of physical keys, where the challenge-response mechanism operates in the time-frequency domain.

UPIN - User-driven Path Verification and Control for Inter-domain Networks
Main applicant: Prof. dr. ir. A. Pras, UT
Co applicant: Dr. P. (Paola) Grosso, UvA
Consortium partners: SIDN, SURFnet, NLnet Labs

Most users of the Internet do not know how their traffic flows through the network to its final destination and cannot verify or control its path. The UPIN project’s result will be a system that gives Internet users the control and insight they do not have but urgently need.

FORWARDT - FORensic WAtermarking with Robust Dynamic Tracing
Main applicant: Dr. B. Skoric (TU/e)
Consortium partner: Irdeto

This project aims to improve the resilience of audio-video watermarks against so-called collusion attacks, where multiple attackers hold differently watermarked versions of the same content. We focus in particular on the challenges in real-world content delivery systems, e.g. multi-channel attacks and dynamic tracing.

MASCOT - MeAsuring Security in Cloud OuTsourcing
Main applicant: Dr. A. (Anna) Sperotto, UT
Co applicant: Prof. dr. ir. L.J.M. (Bart) Nieuwenhuis, UT
Consortium partners: NLnet Labs, SURFnet, Logius, KPN

Outsourcing to the cloud is mainstream business practice. Oft-quoted security benefits of the cloud are availability of skilled staff, bandwidth and compute power to head off attacks. Yet recent outages call these benefits into question. MASCOT will rigorously study cloud resilience and use the outcome to support security-conscious cloud strategies.

Source: NWO