In our society with more people worldwide and more older people in Western Europe, the demand for food, energy, water, healthcare and security increases whereas the resources decline. New use of ICT, big data and the internet of things allow us to more efficiently and effectively answer the increased demand. Economic chances arise, for the country as a whole and for regions. Especially in ‘smart cities’ lots of activity occurs in this field. The MRDH (Rotterdam The Hague Metropolitan Area) has also defined its next economy actions around this to establish (amongst others) the region as the digital gateway to Europe.
On the other hand, globalization and the openness of the internet make us vulnerable. Cyber crime, cyber terrorism and cyber war can impact our infrastructure. Black outs, manipulation of electronic patient files, theft of mission critical company data and remotely opening bridges are examples of this. A social responsibility arises for the government and all parties involved to make our society cyber resilient. Especially with regards to our critical infrastructure. The risk of a disrupted society should be dealt with.
A national cyber testbed could be a key element in dealing with this threat, especially with respect to the Internet of Things ecosystem. A facility to test our critical infrastructure on cyber responsiveness, for research & development, for awareness and training, for standards and norms, etc. A testbed independent of -yet cooperating with- foreign testbeds (e.g. Singapore, USA, Japan). A testbed useful for the critical infrastructure organisations, large and smaller ones. A testbed with critical mass compared to all individual initiatives and thereby allow individuals to carry out more extensive and cross-sector testing. A testbed as an economic initiative with international potential (European Cyber Testbed) and local employment opportunities. A testbed leveraging the successful triple helix initiative of The Hague Security Delta: Science, private and public organizations working together.
National Cyber Testbed (NCT), the way forward
This programme researches why such a testbed is necessary, what it should look like and how it should be organised and financed. On 14 February 2017 the results of the research have been presented in a report (in Dutch). Already three organisations, TNO, KPN and the City of The Hague have given their support to the development of the National Cyber Tetsbed. Read more
Following this research programme, TMX, TNO, KPN, Applied Risk, Croonwolter&dros and several water boards took the initiative to carry out a public-private research within the Topsector HighTech Systems and Materials. Aim of the research is to find out how Internet of Things can help to send water measurements to the digital infrastructure in a secure way. And if this creates added value to the water boards. The original idea of an automated security test framework containing all kinds of security test cases from several security companies within a National Cyber Security Test Bed turned out to be impossible to realize within this project. Partly because the security analysis proceedings usually consists of manual work. But, also because the concept was not feasible within the scope and budget of this project. However, with this project there has been taken a first step by testing three security scenarios in an experiment set-up. Read the report, which was published on 1 October 2019.