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Welcome from the Project Coordinator

Dear Readers,

Once again, another eventful and fruitful year has passed for YAKSHA. Despite the challenges brought by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the team still managed to overcome the difficulties and successfully deployed our software solutions in pilot deployments in Greece, Vietnam and Malaysia.

We have also continued our outreach efforts, with the organisation of our second and final end-user event that took place as an online webinar. It attracted more than 70 participants representing a myriad of ASEAN end-users. Topics of interest ranging from achieved project milestones to the future global cyberspace were covered in exciting speeches and interactive panel discussions during the event.

In addition, YAKSHA participated in externally organised conferences to promote our cybersecurity solutions, such as the 22nd Infocom World Conference 2020, a major telecommunications conference for key stakeholders in the wider Balkan area. More information on these outreach events is shared in this newsletter.

As the project comes to a close, we would also like to take the opportunity to share our future plans in bringing YAKSHA’s solutions to the market. There will be enhanced cooperation and strategic partnerships forming a joint commercial venture, as well as collaborations with academic stakeholders to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project. All in all, we are making steady progress in our goals, to contribute to a long-lasting positive impact and a safer cyber environment in EU and ASEAN.

We would like to thank you all for your continuous support and wish you a great and prosperous year ahead!

Best regards,

YAKSHA Project Coordinator

YAKSHA 2nd and Final End-user Event

The 4-hour long second and final end-user event successfully took place online on the 9th of December 2020 and attracted over 70 participants. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the event was held online in the form of a webinar. Participants – consisting of ASEAN end-users e.g. SMEs, universities, governmental organisations etc., as well as YAKSHA Ambassadors – had an opportunity to learn about the unique value proposition of the YAKSHA software, its technical aspects, the results of the pilot actions, and participate in interactive discussions on cybersecurity issues in ASEAN and EU.

The webinar started at 2 pm UTC+7 – Thailand time (which translates into 8 am Central European time), with a welcome of the participants and presentation of the YAKSHA project and its main achievements by Douglas Thompson -YAKSHA Project Coordinator, SPI. This was followed by two exciting keynote speeches: Chalee Vorakulpipat from NSTDA, Thailand presented the ASEAN perspective on cybersecurity issues, perspectives, needs and YAKSHA. Jarno Salonen from VTT, Finland presented the latest trends on resilience and cybersecurity strategy. The day continued with presentations on the unique value that the YAKSHA software offers, a deep-dive into the technical aspects of the software, and the results of the pilot actions in ASEAN and EU, presented by technical partners of the YAKSHA project – UPRC, MOT and StAG.

This was followed by an interactive discussion with the involvement of audience on the deployment of YAKSHA software in the ASEAN region – including a roadmap for the exploitation- and the role of Ambassadors, moderated and animated by Svetlana Klessova, Krisztina Dax from GAC, Alessandro Guarino from StAG and Ismamuradi Bin Abdul Kadir from CSM. The discussion aimed to explore the vision of the audience on the exploitation of the YAKSHA software in ASEAN, considering the current landscape and the effect of COVID-19.

Finally, the day finished with a panel discussion moderated by Fabrice Clari from GAC, on alternative use of the YAKSHA software – focusing on exploitation by verticals in three sectors – Public sector, IoT and its implication on various end-users (strategic facilities, hospital, industry) and Critical infrastructures. The three panellists were Dr. Komain Pibulyarojana from ACIOA (Thailand); Dr. S.M Warusia, YAKSHA Ambassador from University Teknikal Melaka (Malaysia) and Alexandros Kostopoulos from OTE (Greece), representative of the YAKSHA pilot action in Greece.

YAKSHA at the 22nd Infocom World Conference 2020

One of the YAKSHA successful pilot deployments was presented on November 6 2020 at Infocom World Greece 2020. Infocom World is considered as the major annual industrial telecommunications conference in Greece and in the wider Balkan area and attracts the interest of all involved market actors. During the recent years, as a result of the “globalization” of the e-Communications market, the Conference has also attracted a broader interest. It is also supported by major telecommunications actors”, international bodies, National (Regulatory) Authorities, etc.

Infocom World took place on the 6th of November, 2020 (virtual event), where OTE organized a workshop dedicated on the research activities of OTE S.A. In this workshop, a presentation entitled “YAKSHA: Implementing Honeypot as-a-Service” was given. The YAKSHA pilot project deployed at OTE (Greece's biggest telecommunications operator) was focused on IoT services. It was presented by Dr. Alexandros Kostopoulos and Dr. Ioannis P. Chochliouros (OTE Research). In particular, the presentation was focused on OTE’s IoT Platform, where the YAKSHA platform is installed. The connected paper includes contributions from YAKSHA partners Motivian, University of Piraeus, and StAG.

More information about the workshop can be found here: https://www.infocomworld.gr/22o-infocom-world-2020/programma-epistimonikis-enotitas-3i-mera/

The full paper is freely available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-49190-1_10

The future of YAKSHA

The YAKSHA Horizon 2020 project has come to an end at the end of 2020 and the pilot projects fully demonstrated the validity of the YAKSHA solution for tailored threat intelligence. A renewed alliance between a core group of YAKSHA partners will ensure the long-term sustainability of YAKSHA into the future. A joint venture company will be shortly established by two of the SMEs involved in the project: Motivian and StAG. Motivian is a very experienced software engineering group of companys and its holding will lead the investment into the new Yaksha startup. Motivian Bulgaria led the development Work Package during the Horizon project. StAG is an Italian SME specialising in cybersecurity services and data governance. It led the testing and validation Work Package in YAKSHA, coordinating the four pilot projects realised in Europe and South East Asia.
The University of Piraeus Research Center is the closest strategic partner of the new venture, contributing their expertise in automatic malware analysis and artificial intelligence.

The YAKSHA venture plans to launch the solution on the market in October 2021. ASEAN will be the first region to be targeted, followed by Europe in early 2022. YAKSHA is currently discussing a strategic partnership with CyberSecurity Malaysia, another partner in the Horizon consortium. CSM's annual conference - CSM-ACE - is being considered as a platform for the inaugural YAKSHA event and the auspice is that a physical event could take place at that time.

While essentially a commercial venture, YAKSHA aims at building around the solution a strong academic stakeholders group, around the main contributor UPRC, both in Europe and South East Asia. Data and intelligence generated by the YAKSHA installations could be for instance shared for research purposes. This will happen for the YAKSHA nodes that Motivian and StAG will maintain during 2021 and beyond. Special agreements will be negotiated with academic institutions interested in deploying the solution for research.

YAKSHA is essentially an advanced tools for the development of tailored threat intelligence, based on deception. It allows the rapid creation and management of large honeynets devoted to intercept cyber attacks against complex IT infrastructures and systems. It allows organisations to asses what threats in the wild are interested in attacking them and to build profiles of their type (individuals, hacker groups, competitors, cybercriminals, up to state actors). The YAKSHA added value rests on the specificity of the intelligence gathered. Since the honeypots mimic the real exposed systems, attacks vectors, Indicators of Compromise, malware behaviour and analysis are not general but specific for each client's organisation. Benefit include shorter time to react and analyse, as well as lower chance of a damaging attack since honeynets intrinsically act as decoys.

Shortly the new YAKSHA site will be launched at www.yaksha.eu, where the existing community will find all the informations about the new venture, as well as direct contacts with the partners.


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