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SPARTA Cybersecurity Hackathon

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SPARTA Partnership Program for Baltic Sea Region Stakeholders WORKSHOP...

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Madeira Goes Cyber with SPARTA

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Report: Understanding European Cybersecurity HR Recruitment Processes

28th Dec 2021
How organisations in Europe currently address the recruitment of cybersecurity specialists? This report - Understanding European Cybersecurity HR Recruitment Processes - seeks to answer this question and provides the foundation to create a Cyber HR Toolbox!

The report is the result of the collaborative effort between ECSO and the European Cybersecurity Competence Network Pilot projects – ECHO, Concordia, SPARTA and CyberSec4Europe and provides the key findings and results from the analysis around understanding how cybersecurity recruitment and overall HR processes and motivations work in Europe, based on survey responses received over the course of two months (April-May 2021). This analysis results from the collaboration between ESCO Working Group (WG5) for human factors & competence building, and the Cybersecurity Competence Network.

Read the full report here.

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SPARTA Roadmap Design Highlights

22nd Dec 2021
SPARTA’s Work Package #3, responsible for roadmapping affairs in the SPARTA project and in the CCN ecosystem, has been mainly active on two fronts: internally, by compiling a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda within SPARTA towards strengthening EU’s digital autonomy, and externally, by coordinating discussions between the 4 Pilots and ECSO on consolidating the various individual cybersecurity roadmaps developed in the EU. In this dissemination report, we outline the highlights of both work streams.

CCN Roadmaps Consolidation. The 4 CCN Pilots and ECSO benefit from large individual networks of partners, including large enterprises, SMEs, universities, and cybersecurity research institutes, that join efforts into identifying cybersecurity research & innovation priorities for retaining EU’s digital autonomy and sovereignty. Each consortium adheres to the common goal of strengthening and sustaining Europe’s cybersecurity competence, but the 4 Pilots and ECSO take slightly di...
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My way in cybersecurity

16th Nov 2021
A woman who works in a male-dominated field cannot usually say it’s easy. It has its advantages and disadvantages.

When I started my professional career, I did not know what it would look like. I’ve always believed that doing complicated things like analyzing information to keep it safe or the security of data, people, computers, devices, networks was difficult. When I was offered a job at NASK, I had divergent thoughts about it. I felt it could be a big challenge, maybe even too big? I was surprised by this proposal because it seemed very difficult to work there. I had a lot of thoughts about whether I would be able to deal with it. And at the same time, something was fascinating about it. I had the prospect of doing great things. Nevertheless, I was wondering quite intensively if I could cope with this task.

My first job was to test a system that aggregated, analyzed and classified network incidents. I got the feeling that the programmers hated me. They hated me. I found bugs in...
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High Assurance Intelligent Infrastructure Toolkit: Program Results

21st Oct 2021
Program goals

The High Assurance Intelligent Infrastructure Toolkit (HAII-T) Program deals with the menaces to the security of the modern, smart infrastructures. Intelligent infrastructures are objects of extreme complexity (aka systems of systems) which are difficult to protect and, contemporary, very appealing for an attacker.

The cornerstone of the HAII-T Program is that security must be considered along the entire life cycle of an infrastructure, starting from the very initial design fases. This apporach aims at supporting state-of-the-art best practices such as Security- and Privacy-by-Design. The toolkit is an integrated, extensible platform that follows the development phases of an infrastructure and, at each phase, provide the right tools for dealing with the relevant security aspects.

Ongoing activities

Hardening legacy components

We have started looking into reducing the attack surface of OS kernels by means of static program analysis, we are working on a prototype ...
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Secure and fair AI systems for citizens: Program Results

21st Oct 2021
The expansion of artificial intelligence (AI) has opened the doors for advancements and improvements in almost every domain of human life. However, the development of AI comes at a cost – the methods are not bulletproof, and may be thwarted by a number of issues, among them two major ones. One regards the technical side of it and is related to the fact how many new cyberattacks keep emerging, and consequently, require employing adequate countermeasures. The other set of challenges to the successful proliferation of AI are of the humanistic nature, and relate to the concepts such as trust, fairness and other social challenges. Among them, there is also the question of explainability, i.e. explaining the outcomes of an algorithm in a transparent way, so that human operators can understand where the decision is coming from. The need to answer all of those issues sits at the heart of the SAFAIR (Secure And FAIR AI systems for citizens) program. Its primary and most ambitious goal has be...
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SPARTA | The Future Needs You

18th Oct 2021
The instant interconnectivity brought by the rapid advances in technology revolutionised the way we lived and changed the paradigm of security. Cyberspace is a place shared by all the citizens, where social, political, and economic aspects are constantly emerging. As in the physical world, cyberspace faces a range of emerging challenges, namely concerning its security.

An interconnected world means that cyberattacks can come from any part of the world. Cybercriminals, or non-ethical hackers, come from different countries, backgrounds, and cultures, being only possible to prevent cyberattacks globally if there is a common but diverse understanding of the reasons, ways, and forms of attacks. How? By creating cybersecurity teams with professionals from different cultural backgrounds. A diverse workforce is of utter importance to ensure national and global security, peace, and progress.

Besides the need for a diverse workforce, there is an urgent need to fill job positions. The increa...
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Local explanation of Machine Learning model with shapkit, a Python module that approximate Shapley Values

4th Oct 2021
Nowadays, Machine Learning models are used for various applications with already successful or promising results. Unfortunately, a common criticism is the lack of transparency associated with these algorithm decisions. This is mainly due to a greater interest in performance (measurable on specific tasks) at the expense of a complete understanding of the model. This results in a lack of knowledge of the internal working of the algorithm by the developer and the end user. The most obvious consequences are firstly a difficulty to correct the algorithm by an expert (different assumptions, removing outliers, adding new variables or diverse samples). Secondly, limiting its adoption by operational staff. There is even an urgent need for an explainable Artificial Intelligence (AI). There is no single definition of interpretability or explainability concerning model prediction. Therefore, there are several ways to proceed. Assessing them objectively is a real problem because we do not have u...
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National Clusters pushing the JCCI growth

27th Sep 2021
European Commission has funded four different pilots for establishing a European Cybersecurity Competence centre, promoting share competences, expertise and knowledge among the institutions, stakeholders, and other members. In this context, in SPARTA project, the Joint Competence Centre Infrastructure is implemented as a solution for addressing these Commission’s needs.

The mission of a Joint Competence Centre Infrastructure is to promote and make available information about tools, infrastructure, data and learning content to all (and not only) partners and associates of SPARTA. Its objective is to be used to optimize research and innovation in cyber security, creating new services or extending those that are currently provided by third parties, offering learning, training and experimentation resources. Those singular assets can be accessed and used in similar ways to those of a Digital Innovation Hub. Such information is publicly available through the SPARTA JCCI NEXUS. The Nexus ...
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Evaluation of the Cooperative Car demonstrator developed by TECNALIA in the CAPE program

17th Sep 2021
Last week EURECAT technology centre has visited the TECNALIA’s Autonomous Vehicle Cybersecurity laboratory, which is one of the laboratories that forms the BDIH Cybersecurity Node. The aim of the visit was to carry out, together with the TECNALIA team, a penetration test on a fleet of Model Cars while they circulate jointly and in a coordinated manner forming a platoon. This work is part of SPARTA!

In SPARTA, TECNALIA is working on the assessment and improvement of the security of connected vehicles driving autonomously in a platoon mode. A platoon is a group of vehicles driving in close proximity to each other, with the purpose of reducing aerodynamic drag, thereby reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Each platoon member, thanks to its CACC (Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control), adapts its speed based on data received from its sensors and information exchanged with the other vehicles. They have also worked in new countermeasures to mitigate the cyber-attacks to which this ...
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Turris OS 5.2 has bee released

8th Sep 2021
About Turris project:

Project Turris started back in 2013. It was a security project sponsored by CZ.NIC to get more relevant data about attacks on average Joe. As part of the project, routers with custom software were created and given away to Czech Republic households. Those routers were under contract, which stated that they had to be the main access point to the Internet. From those routers, firewall logs were collected. Apart from firewall logs, some minimalistic honeypots were written for popular protocols, trying to learn more about attacker’s behavior. The resulting data were shared with the Czech national CSIRT team and the relevant result with the worldwide security community. Apart from that, those data were used to generate publicly available greylist and dynamically update firewall on the routers and frequent updates, open-source firmware, and performance. After receiving this kind of feedback, CZ.NIC decided to try to spread those routers even further and created a co...
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Re-imagining the way cybersecurity research, innovation, and training are performed in Europe across domains and expertise, from foundations to applications, in academia and industry


SPARTA will create a long-lasting community capable of collaboration to define, develop, share, and evolve solutions that will help practitioners prevent cybercrime and enhance cybersecurity.


Become a unique innovation force in cybersecurity with transformative impacts on European Union economy, infrastructures, society and democracy.

It's a tough road ahead

With one of the most advanced and multi-cultural research ecosystem in the world, the European Union has the means to take on the cybersecurity challenge. Its scientists have the opportunity to become a unique innovation force in cybersecurity with transformative impacts on our economy, infrastructures, society, and democracy.

Yet many challenges need to be addressed before such a vision can be successful.

How can we design and effectively maintain a European roadmap in cybersecurity research?

How might we cultivate out-of-the-box thinking in research endeavours?

What is the most effective way to maintain excellence in multi-disciplinary pursuits?

These first three items are instrumental to foster a culture of risk-taking – a critical asset for creativity in the face of innovative threats.

These last three items are absolutely key to ensure that the SPARTA network will produce concrete and transformative results. More importantly, they are instrumental in making these results suitable for a wide variety of applications in vertical sectors, creating technological vantage points and economic leverage.

How do we sustain strategic analysis and guidance for research and innovation?

What is the best way to implement flexibility in research actions?

How can we leverage the accumulated strengths of the European industry?

Organizing tomorrow's research activities

Governance activities form the backbone of the network, supporting community activities that range from roadmap design to Request for Challenges, from monthly SPARTA Workshops to bi-yearly SPARTA Days. Research programs are continuously spun from strands of the roadmap, led by experts of their fields, and aim at generating concrete and transformative results.

Develop an ambitious Cybersecurity Research and Innovation Roadmap leveraging Europe’s strengths and opportunities, across multiple disciplines, maturity levels, and geographical locations.

Set up space, time, and means to enable research collaborations, leveraging the strengths of existing structures and organisations around a Joint Competence Center Infrastructure.

Explore innovative work in full- spectrum situational awareness, with the goal of enabling the supervision of complex systems over heterogeneous time scales.

Develop a foundation for secure- by-design intelligent infrastructure built on strong formal approaches, addressing multiple cybersecurity facets.

Investigate new avenues for continuous assessment and new evaluation tools and techniques for handling tomorrow's dynamic and elastic digital systems.

Devise approaches to make systems using AI more reliable and resilient through enhanced explainability and better threat understanding.

Foster the emergence of a thriving and responsible research and innovation model, allowing the development of unique innovation paths, contributing to European strategic autonomy.

Establish unparalleled traction with European, national, and regional ecosystems, relaying concrete requirements, disruptive ideas, and novel results through multi-level and cross-network actions and events.