Leonardo, A2A Explore Cybersecurity for Electricity Generation, Distribution Plants
Wednesday, July 28, 2021 | Comments

Leonardo and A2A are collaborating on a project to field test new prototype solutions intended to meet the specific cybersecurity needs of energy infrastructures.

The experimentation will focus on the cyber risk analysis of digital assets and services, the virtualization of application tests and the protection of workstations dedicated to plant control. These are critical processes for the protection of strategic infrastructures, which are essential to seize the opportunities offered by the evolution of the energy system towards digitization and decentralization while meeting the security challenges that this transformation entails. The use of digital technology increases the level of interconnection of electricity networks, exposes them to greater cyber risk and requires the deployment of advanced technological solutions to safeguard corporate information assets and ensure continuity of services.

For the analysis of cyber risk, a new generation system that allows the management of the entire intelligence cycle from the definition of requirements to the collection of internal and external to structured and unstructured information sources to the analysis and production of reports and indicators of compromise will be tested. This will make it possible to precisely identify threats and the probability of an attack being carried out and then to implement the most appropriate countermeasures. A prototype of a multi-sandbox platform called ARGO will allow simultaneous and orchestrated testing of heterogeneous applications and antivirus software in a virtual operating environment isolated from the network and the company's information system, which will therefore not be exposed to risk, indicating the most effective combinations to fully exploit all available technologies in a secure manner. Finally, a customized endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution for industrial control systems (ICS) environments will be tested, to monitor control system workstations and respond to security incidents. The system enables active analysis of the behavior and activities of applications used by users, preventing violations and enabling timely responses.

"Leonardo is the technological and industrial partner of reference for the security of critical infrastructures and providers of essential services and, to maintain this leadership, constant research and innovation activities are essential,” said Tommaso Profeta, managing director of Leonardo's cybersecurity division. “The collaboration with A2A will allow us to field test some of our most innovative technologies for the cybersecurity of industrial processes and to enrich our offer of proprietary solutions for digitalization and security, among the pillars of the strategic plan Be Tomorrow — Leonardo 2030 for long-term sustainable growth.”

The new solutions, which are currently being implemented at Leonardo's cybersecurity research center, will be tested, on the basis of a specific memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two companies, on A2A's plants and networks, with a particular focus on energy generation and distribution processes.

"A2A has always been attentive to security,” said Alessandro Manfredini, director of group security and cyber defense of the A2A Group. “We believe that, in the digital transition, cybersecurity must be approached holistically from the earliest stages of designing technological solutions. This aspect is fundamental in order to be able to guarantee the effectiveness of the essential services that we offer to people, taking care of their quality of life. This important initiative carried out with a leading partner in the sector such as Leonardo will support our group in its commitment to contribute to the sustainable growth of the country, as outlined in the new 10-year business plan. This is an important agreement that we hope will also bring value to the entire utility world.”

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