Industrial Revolution 4.0: Protecting the Industrial Internet of Things in an automotive manufacturing environment.

Mr Nikos Evangeliou

Project Manager

As digitalization becomes a primary business issue for many organizations around the world and the fourth Industrial revolution marks an era of enormous potential for innovation and growth, the manufacturing sector witnesses an increase in cyber-related incidents. Operational and information technology are more connected now than ever, and this makes Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

ITML, as a technology provider and specialist in Data Analytics and Machine Learning, will design and implement the privacy awareness and data & analytics module and integrate the distinct services of a cybersecurity framework.

Since Industry 4.0 is associated with a fusion of innovative technologies and advances, which evolve and grow rapidly, mainly in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing, the need to address the cyber risk incidents has likely never been greater. In other words, the way we live, work and relate to each other is changing radically. Forecast markets[i] predict that there will be about 21.5 billion IoT devices connected worldwide, drastically increasing the area of attacks. The growing utilization of new technologies, along with smart sensors and analytics platforms as well as the increasing number of industrial control systems connected to the internet and the advanced wireless technologies used in industrial facilities are open targets for different types of cyber-attacks and cyber-crimes. According to an ACEN survey[ii] in 2017, the manufacturing sector is the main target of cyber-attacks, which account for one-third of total attacks. Machines, analytics, and people will form a network of industrial devices connected by communications technologies. Machine-to-machine communication, however, increases the risk of cyber-attacks. The need to improve cybersecurity of Industry 4.0 is extremely critical, since the potential impact of relevant threats could range from production downtimes to damaging equipment or manufacturing processes, ultimately harming people and ensuing financial and reputational losses. This is our goal in the EU-funded C4IIoT project: to provide a holistic and disruptive security-enabling solution for minimizing attack surfaces in IIoT systems.

The biggest cybersecurity challenges in the manufacturing environment include the lack of security in protocols and gateways and data analytics related to security. In addition, the real-time detection of vulnerabilities and incidents in the large scale IoT system and the fact that the Industrial value chain follows IoT standards and security regulations make it imperative to deal with cyber-attacks.

Empowered by the state-of-the-art technological achievements of currently disruptive technologies, the C4IIoT solution introduces a new, comprehensive framework to unlock many benefits in the current automotive industrial deployments. To tackle this problem and minimize the attack surfaces in Industrial IoT systems, we are developing an IoT architecture including hardware-enabled security and protection, access control and authentication mechanisms, end-to-end encryption, and behavioral analytical models. It bridges many different technologies and concepts including:

  • Big Data technologies
  • Machine (deep) learning (ML/DL) methods
  • Blockchains and smart contracts
  • Edge/Cloud computing
  • Cyber assurance and protection
  • Access control mechanisms

Within C4IIoT framework, ITML is responsible for the design and development of the privacy-aware, trustworthy data and analytics module. We participate in this innovation with the Data Fusion Bus (DFB) solution. DFB along with its components provide a trustworthy and secure way of data transfer both in the factory and the logistics use case. It also offers fault tolerance and high throughput and a great amount of data along with a high level of reliability. Furthermore, both authentication and authorization are added to ensure that data transfer is encrypted, thus making it more secure and also preventing unauthorized modules from sending or receiving data. Finally, ITML is also responsible to integrate the distinct services towards the implementation of the cybersecurity platform.

The security solution will be demonstrated and validated on two carefully selected use cases in real world environments, namely Enabling security IIoT in:

  • Logistics 4.0
  • a Smart Factory

provided by the FIAT Research Centre, from the automotive sector. Up to now, a proof-of-concept demonstration (MVP) and a first integrated version (prototype), based on an agile approach, have been completed and are now under development for the delivery of the final version. ITML will also continuously validate and test the integrated framework until the end of the project. The complete solution will be adapted based on the specific needs of each field and will be validated by the end-user (CRF) of the project. This cybersecurity platform to be developed in C4IIoT is expected to provide significant boost to several markets related to ICT systems and critical infrastructure.

If you are interested in learning more about the C4IIoT project, please contact us at:

Nikolaos Evangeliou |

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under Grant Agreement No 833828. The article reflects only the view of the author and the sole responsibility of this publication lies with the author. The Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.