New cybersecurity project to decrease online vulnerability with the help of Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship funding
Antwerpen, Bonheiden, Brussel, Gent and Leuven, Belgium, 1 February 2022
A team of three Flemish technology and services companies and three research groups have started working on the APAX project. A two-year project, Automated Posture Analysis that Scales (APAX) will investigate the risks related to the digital presence of online assets in an automated manner that can adapt itself to the requirements of hyper scaling. The goal of the project is to achieve a higher level of cybersecurity and avoid negative impact from vulnerabilities such as Log4J by maximising the usage of automated processes.
Industry project partners Awingu, Ceeyu and Toreon will join forces to research, explore and build technologies thanks to a cybersecurity funding initiative from VLAIO, the Flemish government agency for innovation and entrepreneurship. The three companies will apply ongoing research and inspire academics for future work to help automate the analysis of threats and challenges in cybersecurity. They will do so using the expertise from research partners VUB Software Languages Lab and VUB Artificial Intelligence Lab, together with industry association LSEC.
With the ongoing digitalization and continuous evolving cloud, internet technologies and applications running on them, new cybersecurity challenges appear while many older ones have not yet been resolved. The recent Log4J vulnerability that started early December 2021 continues to ripple throughout 2022 and will likely last for months or even years to come. The vulnerability kept cybersecurity teams busy during the end-of-year holiday period. All systems and applications needed to be inspected and analysed for potential business risks that needed mitigation. Most organizations identified this as a labour-intensive activity, eating away their limited resources. They realised that an automated approach to protection, is a better way to go.
The fundamental goal of the APAX project is to avoid malicious activities to happen and to avoid active business systems and applications from being inaccessible, infringed, unreliable, held hostage or being abused to trade illicit content. To keep up with these challenges and evolutions, cybersecurity will need to evolve from a manual, labour-intensive approach to automated prevention, detection, mitigation, reaction, incident handling, process management, reporting, analysis, and recovery. This must, of course, happen in close collaboration with the operating parties, supporting businesses, people, and processes.
The APAX project partners will work on improving minimally 50 partially automated assessments for cybersecurity postures. Further automation will increase the efficiency of cybersecurity experts and halve the time spent on each individual case. Maximizing automation decreases the cybersecurity reaction time and reduces the repetitive work of security specialists, allowing them to focus on their expert work.
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