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Cyber resilience

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We view cyber resilience as the ability of an organisation to understand the cyber threats it’s facing, to inform the known risks, to put in place proportionate protection, and to recover quickly from attack. Depending upon the client, robust cyber resilience ultimately provides cost-effective business or service continuity, sustained revenue, or the uninterrupted delivery of military effects. It also contributes toward the ongoing protection of the UK.

About

Atkins delivers cyber resilience expertise to the critical national infrastructure, governmentnational security and defence sectors. We are the largest supplier of client-side advisory in the UK security and intelligence sector and accredited to the Cyber Suppliers to UK Government scheme.

By combing a deep understanding of the digital ecosystem that surrounds and supports our nation’s critical infrastructure with our experience of working in secure and mission-critical environments, we can offer unrivalled insight into an organisation’s digital vulnerabilities.

FEATURES

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Expertise

Our cyber advisory services allow for a tailored, scalable approach, supporting you from single systems to organisation-wide platforms and beyond to connections with suppliers.

We pride ourselves on our pragmatic approach. We’re focused on enabling implementation of real world solutions and our starting point is always your business needs and drivers.

The following summarises our core technical areas of expertise and our delivery model:

Audit and review

Understanding the risks to your information is academic unless the controls required to reduce those risks are delivered. Audit and review ensures assurance controls are fit-for-purpose, correctly implemented and sustainable. 

Using appropriate and cost-effective policy, technical, people and process controls we help you to develop:

  • A structured and systematic approach for internal and external compliance requirements
  • A framework to respond to legislative and regulatory changes
  • Reduced risk management and compliance overhead

Cyber advisory

We harness our experience developing security solutions and implementing best practice in the UK security and intelligence sector. 

Indeed, our experience delivering national infrastructure gives us a broad view of security that encompasses the technical, people, processes, and physical.

Risk assessment

Our risk assessment approach links our clients’ business goals and key assets to the threats they face, generating mitigations for managing risks down to a level acceptable to senior business stakeholders. We use industry standard, repeatable methodologies that help clients choose an appropriate level of security – not a one size fits all approach.

Our risk assessment services cover: security maturity assessments, business risk appetite, asset valuation and criticality, threat analysis and modelling, vulnerability assessment and technical, behavioural and process risk assessments.

Risk management

Our management of cyber risk is underpinned by a deep understanding of organisational ethos, culture and structures, where we develop approaches for employees to support and enhance your security controls. We help clients make informed decisions about where to invest security resources and manage priorities to meet business goals.

We support our clients in three key areas: cyber security governance, risk assessment mitigations and cyber advice and guidance.

Security architecture

Atkins offers advisory and implementation support to help organisations shape their cyber and information security architecture based on the threats they face. As well as providing you with the knowledge, methodologies and tools required to integrate security into your existing architecture, we also support clients to articulate how architecture fits into their overall strategic objectives. 

Our service comprises: enterprise security, architectures, architectural patterns and architectural assurance.

Transformation

Our transformation consultants work with clients who need to deliver complex change – either at business unit or organisational level – to achieve their cyber resilience goals.

We act as an implementation partner to help our clients design and deliver benefits from transformation, providing services including: transformation assurance, service reviews, operating models, organisational design, managing complex programmes, engaging and enabling people, operational and supply chain improvement, and business case and benefits management.

Project, portfolio and programme management

Our P3M specialists ensure controlled management of successful business transformation. We have extensive experience of increasing our clients’ confidence in achieving outcomes, reducing risk and driving improvements in quality inherent in complex delivery. We always aim to enhance the competence and capability of the organisations we work with.

Our services include: portfolio management, enterprise project management, portfolio programme and project delivery management, programme and project office services, and programme and project assurance.

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Angles

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Jim Hanson
17 Feb 2017

The first-of-a-kind event was held in conjunction with the CES Conference, an annual consumer electronics and technology tradeshow in Las Vegas. In the spirit of the summit theme, taken from an Elvis Presley song, “A Little Less Conversation,” we helped Nevada do more than talk about intelligent mobility, or iM—they illustrated with real-world examples of advancements in the iM space. I’m often asked, “So, what is intelligent mobility?” It may mean different things to different clients depending where they are in their iM journey. Events like the GO-NV Summit helped clarify some aspects of iM for attendees. The bigger goal of GO-NV was to take the conversation toward action to start deploying solutions.  Our approach to iM is a global one—each of our regions is working with clients, technologists, developers and solutions providers to address the growing scope of iM needs world-wide. Our definition is simple: Intelligent mobility is an end-user and outcome-focused approach to connecting people, places and services—reimagining infrastructure across all transport modes, enabled by data, technology and innovative ideas. We describe our iM work in four areas: the power to transform lives; progress and change; catalyst for collaboration, and implementation at its heart. The Power to Transform Lives Clearly, iM has the potential to enable people who struggle with finding safe, convenient, affordable travel options across all modes of transportation. We’re working with state and local governments across the country, facilitating innovative visioning and roadmap development sessions to address the rapidly evolving needs around iM. The GO-NV Summit brought to life the four

North America ,

Richard Piggin
26 Jan 2017

The most recent campaign is reported to have commenced on 6 December, continuing through to 20 December. Vsevolod Kovalchuk, a director at the Ukrainian national energy company Ukrenergo, told Reuters that the 200 megawatt interruption was equivalent to approximately a fifth of Kiev's night time energy consumption, and that the scale of the interruption was very rare. The automation was shut down in the Pivnichna power transmission substation located north of Kiev. The remote terminal units (RTUs) opened circuit breakers, causing a power outage that lasted for 75 minutes. Power was restored manually, with full restoration early the following morning. Power loss was reported in northern Kiev and on the eastern bank of the Dnieper River and the surrounding area. The Ukrenergo director described ‘external influences’ effecting workstations and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) servers, and anomalies with transmission network data. Although investigations are ongoing, in the meantime researchers have confirmed significant similarities to the power outage a year earlier. This includes phishing attacks, with malware embedded in Microsoft document macros, and traces of BlackEnergy 3 malware used in the attacks targeting Ukraine Government organisations. Oleksii Yasnskiy of ISSP labs, distinguished the more recent attacks, using significant obfuscation: “Being more complex and better organised.” Marina Krotofil, a security researcher at Honeywell Industrial Cyber Security Lab contrasted the previous damaging attack: “They could do many more things, but obviously they didn’t have this as an intent. It was more like a demonstration of capabilities.” Ukrainian media and security researchers have also

UK & Europe ,

Ian Buffey
12 Dec 2016

On 7 December, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) launched a new report entitled “Outpacing Cyber Threats: Priorities for Cyber Security at Nuclear Facilities”. The development of the report was driven by the fear that we’re heading for a world where a cyber-attack on a nuclear facility could have devastating effects and that the increased digitalisation of nuclear facilities makes such an attack more likely. Another key factor is the fear that potential attackers are increasingly at an advantage. The threat landscape is evolving rapidly both technically and in terms of potential aggressors. Attacks which would have taken nation state-level resources a few years ago are now within the reach of smaller, less well-resourced groups or even individuals. The brief to the authors of the report was as simple as the problem statement – given a free hand, what can be done to reduce this risk over and above what is already being done? What could we do better or faster to reduce the likelihood of a cyber-attack causing a devastating incident? Four key ideas became the basis of the report. These were: Institutionalise cyber security – treat cyber security in the same way that safety is treated in the nuclear industry Mount an Active Defence – be able to detect and respond to an attack quickly rather than relying on static defences (such as firewalls and anti-malware) to keep you safe Reduce complexity – limit the digital footprint in the most critical

UK & Europe ,

Michael Bertram
28 Nov 2016

According to the U.S. DOT, ITS consists of the “operational systems of various technologies that, when combined and managed, improve the operating capabilities of the overall system.” ITS continues to evolve and introduce new and exciting technologies and capabilities, including smart and connected vehicles, but ITS also encompasses smart phone applications, roadside networks, toll collection kiosks, CCTV cameras and traffic management centers to name a few examples. Product vendors and technical experts are paying attention to security of individual products. This is a good start. However, our industry is clearly not yet mature on security matters. ITS may repeat errors made in other industry sectors. Technologists must learn the lessons of recent years where organizations such as Target, Saudi Aramco and the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) suffered abuse of trusted access leading to financial theft, massive data deletion and sensitive information theft, respectively. These serve as examples of high-profile data breaches and hacking, but the stakes for ITS are much higher—namely the safety and trust of roadway users. Users implicitly trust that retailers are at least attempting to address their security and privacy concerns holistically and with due care. Users also trust that their governments will ensure the safety and security of the roadway infrastructure they use every day. Security is a systemic concern involving what is seen (i.e. the product of concern such as a ‘smart’ vehicle), but also what is not seen; the people, processes and technology which permeate in and between organizations. Vehicle security is high-priority because

North America ,

Projects

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As part of its focus on continually improving its people, processes and information, EDF recognised the need to gain a better understanding of its staff’s security awareness and training needs so that a specific programme could be developed to meet their continual learning requirement in this area. Atkins worked closely with the client for over three years providing professional advice, analysis and solutions through the full lifecycle of organisational learning and development. This work included development of better learning and development solutions for a range of requirements, such as: • Support for the design and implementation of a structured training programme for the internal regulation department of around 60 people • Design and support of training-related management information and reporting • Design and implementation of a major e-learning PC-based training package on Basic Nuclear Principles Refreshment to be used by over 400 people on a cyclical basis • Participation in key self-assessments relating to organisational learning and development improvements that will support the re-accreditation of the Engineering Support training programme against industry standards. These support services were key to EDF achieving training standards accreditation for one of the largest single training programmes in the world. This has in turn provided credibility for lifetime extension programmes for the company’s existing nuclear fleet and new build programmes. Our support has meant that EDF can clearly demonstrate that they have control of their nuclear resources in a measurable and systematic programme which has a clear view of the challenges in addressing an aging demographic and a finite industry

UK ,

Horizon was particularly aware of the issues surrounding the UK approach to security of control and protection systems. Realising that it did not possess detailed knowledge of evolving best practice and regulatory requirements, our client wished to undertake a comprehensive review of relevant standards, guidance and approaches, as well the expectations of bodies that provided security advice. Atkins was chosen to undertake this security standards review. Our work addressed UK best practice and other well established industry methods from around the world. Nuclear best practice was also discussed, including the US NRC 5.71 Regulatory Guide, which had already adopted international good practice, albeit through a very prescriptive implementation. We reviewed the best practice and standards utilised for securing Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and produced a comprehensive overview, assessment and recommendations on future practice. Our review included: The ISO/IEC 27001/27002 series: • ISA99 – Industrial Automation and Control System Security • IEC 62443 – Industrial Communication Networks Network and System Security • NIST SP 800-82 Guide to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security • NRC Regulatory Guide 5.71 Cyber Security Programs for Nuclear Facilities. At the end of the comprehensive review, Atkins produced two briefing papers. The first of these covered ICS security best practice, emerging developments and a forward-looking strategy. The second paper concentrated upon nuclear safety protection systems. The briefing papers, follow up presentations, and meetings provided Horizon with a detailed understanding of the security and safety practices which they then used to inform their strategic planning.

UK ,

HE partnered with their Netherlands equivalent, Rijkswaterstaat (RWS), to help overcome their legacy system drawbacks. Both wished to develop a future operating model that delivered a modern and open technology platform and effective supply chain that would improve the resilience and efficiency of their road networks. Atkins were tasked with developing the security requirements for the Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) operating model, and supporting its delivery through an open tender process to enable appropriate suppliers to provide the new solution. We worked in collaboration with HE and RWS, integrating our subject matter experts into the project team. This allowed us to agree a joint security approach which would took into account the different cultural, business, security and legislative concerns that the two partners faced. By working closely with all stakeholders, we determined the existing operational structures, business goals and service requirements. We reviewed UK and Dutch security standards and Governmental requirements and negotiated a joint approach to meet these. Finally, we developed a ‘to-be’ security operating model to meet business requirements for input into ‘Pre-qualification questionnaire’ (PQQ) and ‘Invitation to tender’ (ITT) contract phases and proposed and agreed approaches for the formal accreditation of ATMS. Our security-focused business systems analysis and requirements development led to a detailed set of building block deliverables at functional and technical levels. These included the specific application, infrastructure, hosting and platform components. The completion of this project provided HE and RWS with a pragmatic and realistic view of the threat environment for information assets with a

UK ,

The client had found it difficult, expensive and disruptive to their programme portfolio to maintain and manage a pool of experienced security consultants with the necessary analysis and security artefact-creation skills required to support the accreditation decision. Due to the finite resource, deciding which projects would benefit most from the IA consultants’ skills was also proving challenging. As a result, there was a risk of critical systems either remaining unaccredited or being accredited on the basis of an inadequate risk assessment. We worked with the client to develop a new managed service approach to the provision of security that brought together all the necessary expertise into a single team. Through the creation and implementation of a security catalogue, we provided key security and accreditation activities for the client. These covered business impact identification, risk assessment, threat and vulnerability analysis, and current and new service/system ‘as-is’ security reviews. Also included were estate and system architecture advice and design, policy and standards gap analyses, and accreditation and risk management. In addition, our (previously CLAS) accredited security consultants provided specialist security support or management to particular projects over an extended period. Through the implementation of managed accreditor services we coached, mentored and trained the client’s junior accreditors. This proved to increase the client’s capabilities in accreditation and developed the organisation’s information risk management maturity. Our managed security consultancy service provided specialist advice to the client that is now an embedded part of the enterprise architecture. Our specialist expertise was also applied to the client’s department-wide information assurance enhancement

UK ,

As a significant element of the IT estate was legacy, the key challenge our client faced was understanding where information assets were stored and processed. This knowledge gap meant that DWP was unable to properly quantify and understand their risk exposure to help develop effective mitigation strategies. DWP therefore approached Atkins to perform a threat and risk assessment of their IT estate, specifically looking at key information assets and how they were stored, accessed, transmitted and processed. Atkins worked closely with DWP across a four month programme to provide a snapshot threat, security risk, and maturity assessment of key information assets across the IT estate. We identified IT and business stakeholders for engagement and reviewed DWP security approaches, policies, procedures and IT architecture to obtain the wider IT estate view. Quantitative and qualitative data was also collected on the shape of the IT estate through documentation reviews, workshops and interviews. This was then employed to identify the flow of data, potential threats and vulnerabilities. Finally, we identified key security risks and opportunities to reduce and mitigate these. We then developed strategic recommendations for the ownership and management of key information assets. As a result of this work, senior stakeholders obtained a quantified view of information asset risk across the DWP IT estate. Our threat assessment recognised what would make DWP an attractive target, as well as highlighting the key threat actors and the likely attack vectors. Clear and concise prioritised expert guidance was also provided relating to information asset risk mitigation activities. This informed

UK ,

Without a clear and deep understanding of their current cyber posture, the client’s leadership team were unable to identify their risk exposure or to develop an effective strategy for cyber resilience. Atkins were selected to perform a cyber risk assessment to identify the key challenges, threats and risks to Government-provisioned services, broader critical national infrastructure and key economic activity. The review would need to establish a realistic picture of the client’s level of resilience and their capability to respond to a serious cyber-attack. Working in collaboration with the client and key stakeholders, we developed a snapshot cyber threat and risk assessment. This provided a measurement of maturity assessment relating to their key assets. A series of sequenced and integrated work packages were also created. These focused on identifying Government and business stakeholders for engagement and reviewing existing security approaches, strategies and policies to obtain a wider national view. The work packages also involved collecting and analysing data on the state of the nation through events, workshops, interviews and reviews, and identifying key security threats, risks and opportunities to reduce risk and improve resilience. As a result of the risk assessment activity, potential threats, attack vectors and vulnerabilities were also highlighted, along with identification of what would make the client an attractive target. Our client’s senior stakeholders obtained a realistic view of the maturity of their cyber defence, with key areas of weakness and strength identified across Government and business sectors. Clear and concise prioritised expert recommendations, based on the client’s technology, people and processes, were then provided

UK ,

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) wished to commission collaborative research for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) into the relationship between people and cyber/ information assurance. Particular focus was required on the human and cultural issues relevant to risk and friction points associated with the design of policy and procedure. Atkins collaborated with University College London (UCL), bringing together industry, commercial and academic expertise to undertake this research. A set of customised assessments were developed to be undertaken by MOD staff using a specialised tool. This helped to identify an individual’s security understanding within their working environment, to highlight skills and knowledge gaps and focus on behaviours that may pose a risk to security compliance. Through this research it was identified that current security practice reduces productivity by introducing rules that often create a conflict with the individual’s primary task and are consequently circumvented. The work conducted represented new and innovative thinking leading to a number of achievable recommendations across the MOD. These would ultimately lead to a new paradigm in the way systems, policies and procedures were developed and implemented. Research outcomes of the identification of friction, and understanding of what is causing it, can also form the basis for a potentially lower friction solution that operators can comply with.

UK ,

A UK critical national infrastructure energy company wished to secure its Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and SCADA from this potential threat. They particularly wished to understand which ICS information was available in the public domain that could be obtained by a potential adversary. Atkins was appointed to undertake an open source vulnerability assessment on behalf of the client, thanks to our deep knowledge of ICS security. We undertook an analytical investigation using mainstream media, blogs, social media, sector-specific journals, academic material, web 2.0 and industrial sector websites. Each threat was assessed and recommendations were proposed to both reduce the open source footprint and mitigate against the risk. Our assessment was divided into various categories, including mapping, social media, ICS, and outward-facing IT architecture. To illustrate the increased threat to ICS to the client, freely available tools were used to demonstrate the identification of networked control systems, their vulnerabilities and how they might be exploited. As a result of our assessment, our client’s new understanding of the potential threats to their ICS and adoption of our recommended mitigation measures has helped to improve security and safety for their company. Our vulnerability assessment ensured our client’s corporate risk assessment process was more effective and allowed them to take a more considered stance on mitigation and planning for attack. Our assessment also identified a number of vulnerabilities in critical systems that they were subsequently able to patch, helping to protect both revenues and shareholder returns. Given our client’s status as part of the nation's infrastructure,

UK ,

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