ENCS and Dutch ministry partner on cyber resilience in water sector

With the digitalisation of the utility sector, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management predicts an increase in risks of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure such as water treatment and distribution systems.

As part of the programme Cyber ​​Resilience in the Water Sector, a multi-year programme designed to enhance the cybersecurity capabilities of water utilities in the Netherlands, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has partnered with the European Network for Cyber Security (ENCS) to train stakeholders within the water sector.

To this end, ENCS and the ministry hosted a Red Team – Blue Team training workshop between June 7 and June 9, 2021, to raise cybersecurity awareness and knowledge throughout the Dutch water sector. The workshop was focused on helping the sector to enhance their cyberattack detection, defence and response capabilities.

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Attendees were taught about industrial control systems, their risks and how to protect them, how to identify defensive measures and the preparation of monitoring tools before being divided into the Red and Blue teams in which they were asked to attack each other’s assets and come up with attacks detection and mitigation strategies.

Jeroen van den Berg, programme secretary, said: The Red Team – Blue Team training of ENCS is truly unique in Western Europe and allows participants to gain hands-on experience with both the defensive and offensive sides of an attack on their systems. This training in particular also offered the Ministry a special opportunity to bring together people from the sector who would usually not encounter each other and allow them to share experiences and strengthen their network.”

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology will be hosting 15 similar programmes to better prepare the sector against rising attacks on infrastructure globally. The projects will be based on five pillars: identify, protect, detect, respond and recover, and will run through 2022.