Progress on the SPEAR pilots


3/5/2021

One of the most critical stages for implementing a project is when all the developed tools have to be tested in the operational environment of the end user or in laboratories that emulate realistic conditions. The evaluation and the market potential of the SPEAR solution, that the consortium has been working on during the last three years, depends on the response of these pilots.

The first six Working Packages of the SPEAR project contributed towards preparing the SPEAR platform. The objective of SPEAR is to provide effective solutions for detecting, responding, and taking countermeasures against advanced cyber threats and attacks that target modern smart grids.

At the beginning of the project, the security and privacy requirements were extracted from the end users and energy stakeholders, forming the basis of the SPEAR architecture and the innovations behind it. Then, the technical work focused on the SPEAR SIEM, that can collect, analyse, detect, and visualise ongoing cyberthreats against the most popular industrial Internet of Things (IoT) protocols, including Modbus TCP, MQTT, DNP3, and IEC-61850. Together with the forensic readiness and privacy preserving framework, the intelligent honeypots, and the cyber-hygiene policies that are provided to the end users, the integrated SPEAR platform was realized to be tested in the final phase of the project, the user acceptance testing.

In the last phase of the project, it is necessary to test together all the functionalities provided by the SPEAR platform and compare the obtained results against pre-defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that evaluate the accuracy, efficiency, and reliability of the platform for accomplishing its role. The evaluation results are obtained by performing real cyberattacks in the existing industrial infrastructure of the end users, which includes Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), energy meters and Remote Terminal Units (RTUs).

During April 2021 two pilots have been finished with positive results: The Smart Home scenario in CERTH and the Substation scenario in the Tecnalia laboratories. The rest two pilots, the Combined IAN and HAN scenario in PPC and the Hydro Power Plant scenario in VETS, will be implemented during May 2021.