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Winnaar TKI call: Het DReSC project

Published 29 April 2024

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This article was placed on: dcypher

An award-winning CS4NL initiative: 'Digital Resilience in Supply Chains' with Dr. Abhishta and his team from the University of Twente and JADS."

This project is supported by Human Capital Agenda (HCA) ICT and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and collaborates with major partners from security, logistics and healthcare sectors. In this interview Dr. Abhishta and his team outline the objectives, strategies and significant impacts of this cybersecurity innovation project in the Netherlands.

"Could you describe the primary goals of the DReSC project and how it is expected to enhance cyber resilience in the logistical and health sector?"
"The main objective of the Digital Resilience in Supply Chains (DReSC) project is to enhance cyber resilience within logistics and healthcare sectors by identifying cybersecurity risks, designing tailored interventions, and developing gain-sharing mechanisms. The project aims to bolster weak links in the supply chain by raising awareness, implementing security measures collaboratively and validating the effectiveness of these measures to reduce risk exposure and foster a culture of security among supply chain partners."

"Could you tell us about the people involved in the DReSC project? What are their backgrounds, and what motivates their commitment to cybersecurity innovation?"
"As part of the DReSC project, we have assembled a truly interdisciplinary team, each bringing a unique set of skills and experiences to tackle the complex challenges of cybersecurity in supply chains. At the University of Twente, we have Prof. Dr. Martijn Mes, who brings a deep understanding of freight transportation and dynamic routing issues. Dr. ir. Wouter van Heeswijk offers his expertise in operations research and urban logistics, crucial for addressing the efficiency challenges within cities. Dr. Jan-Willem Bullee and I contribute insights into the human-factor and the socio-economic impacts of cyber-attacks." We also have invaluable contributions from JADS (Jheronimus Academy of Data Science), including Prof. Dr. Jos van Hillegersberg, who is well-versed in ICT applications for dynamic network organizations and supply chain systems, and Dr. Giuseppe Cascavilla, who specializes in monitoring cyber-criminal activities and enhancing cyber threat intelligence. Additionally from University of Twente, Dr. Jeroen van der Ham and Dr. Jair Santanna, with their profound background in cybersecurity & vulnerability management, and Dr. Marten van Sinderen, who focuses on enterprise architecture, play critical roles in integrating robust cybersecurity measures into our systems and the development of tools. Moreover, EngD. Jean Paul Sebastian Piest from our department brings practical industry experience, particularly in logistics and supply chain management, which is essential for bridging the gap between academic research and industry application. Dr. Reinoud Joosten adds another layer to our team’s expertise with his research on game theory, particularly in how it can be applied to cybersecurity and understanding economic systems within our project. "

"According to the participants, what are the biggest trends and challenges in supply chain cybersecurity and how is the project preparing for future threats?"
"Participants in DReSC note that the biggest trends include the increasing complexity of supply chain interactions and the reliance on digital technologies, which amplify vulnerabilities. Challenges involve ensuring security across interconnected networks where a breach in one area can affect the entire chain. The project addresses these by analyzing real-world use cases and designing interventions based on these insights."

"What specific challenges in health logistics on cybersecurity have been identified and what innovative solutions or approaches aim to address them?"
"In addressing cybersecurity challenges within health and logistics sectors, the Digital Resilience in Supply Chains (DReSC) project employs innovative strategies to tackle the vulnerabilities specific to these sectors. Given the interconnected nature of supply chains, vulnerabilities in one segment can significantly impact the entire network, particularly in critical healthcare environments. To mitigate these risks, DReSC utilizes comprehensive methodologies for conducting detailed risk assessments. This involves identifying IT dependencies and potential vulnerabilities through network scans and multi-agent simulations, facilitating the design of targeted cybersecurity measures that comply with stringent regulations like the NIS2 directive. Additionally, the project focuses on the human aspect of cybersecurity by designing and validating interventions against social engineering attacks, prevalent threats in these sectors. Furthermore, DReSC develops gain-sharing mechanisms that incentivize all supply chain partners to adopt and maintain robust security measures, thus promoting a culture of digital resilience that effectively balances productivity, flexibility and security."

"How has collaboration with various partners contributed to the development and implementation of the project?"
"Collaboration between academic institutions like the University of Twente, JADS and various private companies has been crucial. These partners contribute expertise in cybersecurity, logistics, healthcare and IT, facilitating a comprehensive approach to tackling cyber resilience challenges. Their collaborative efforts help bridge the gap between theoretical research and practical, real-world application."

"Could you elaborate on the implementation strategy developed in the project? How is cyber resilience being enhanced ultimately?"
"The implementation strategy includes conducting detailed risk assessments, designing and implementing security interventions and measuring their effectiveness in reducing cyber threats. The strategy focuses on building resilience by enhancing individual and collective capabilities to anticipate, withstand, and recover from cyber incidents.

"How has the CS4NL programme contributed to the project and what is the perceived role of such programs in advancing cybersecurity research and innovation in the Netherlands?"
"The CS4NL programme supports the project by providing a broad ecosystem for collaboration among top sectors such as Logistics, Life Sciences & Health and ICT. This programme plays a critical role in advancing cybersecurity research and innovation in the Netherlands by fostering partnerships and facilitating access to resources and expertise."

"What are the future plans or directions for the development of cyber resilience in this project?"
"Future directions include expanding the scope of the project to incorporate more sectors and regions, continuously updating and refining security interventions based on emerging threats, and enhancing the scalability of the gain-sharing mechanisms. The project also plans to increase the dissemination of its findings through professional networks and publications to reach a wider audience and impact global supply chain security practices. We will also work in the future to develop empirical measurement (such as internet measurements) strategies to infer information about vulnerabilities in supply chains."

Dr. Abhishta from the University of Twente and JADS

Dr. Abhishta from the University of Twente and JADS

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