Posted 28 February 2023 in News, Security.

On Friday 24 February 2023, RHEA Group joined partners from across Europe to celebrate the conclusion of ECHO, a major 4-year, pan-European cybersecurity project in which RHEA played a leading role.

The ECHO project (European Network of Cybersecurity Centres and Competence Hub for Innovation and Operations) pooled the knowledge of European ICT professionals from 46 consortium partners from 20 countries to produce a raft of innovative cybersecurity assets, roadmaps, software prototypes, demonstration cases and scientific publications. Most of the output of the project, carefully developed, tested and validated, is now ready for the market. It has also resulted in a vibrant community within the European cybersecurity ecosystem that will continue beyond the end of the ECHO project.

ECHO project logo

Europe’s ECHO cybersecurity project drew to a close last week with a celebration in Brussels of its many successes. ECHO partners and guests came together to hear about the results of the project, view demonstrations of the outputs and discuss their future.

The scale of the project and its successes, both technically and politically, were summarized in the event’s opening speech by Rear Admiral Yves Dupont of the Royal Military Academy, Belgium, who noted that ECHO was set up as a research project but one whose outputs had to be of benefit to society and have a high technology readiness level (TRL). The results, he said, “had contributed to European sovereignty, built on the richness of the different cultures of the organizations involved and provided trust and empowerment.”

Since the ECHO project started, the geopolitical situation in Europe has changed significantly, particularly due to the conflict in Ukraine. A range of measures and activities have subsequently been enacted at European Union (EU) level to raise awareness of the increasing cyber threat landscape, strengthen cooperation and boost the EU’s capacity to protect itself and its citizens. Among these are the European Cybersecurity Community (ECCO) project, in which RHEA Group is involved, which falls within the framework of the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre (ECCC).

With European defence now high on the agenda, it was fitting that at the ECHO closing event, attendees also heard from CyCon’s General Van Strythem about the needs of cybersecurity for defence, as well as hearing a discussion on the current and future cybersecurity landscape in the EU.

ECHO legacy

ECHO was one of four projects selected in 2018 by the European Commission as part of a Horizon 2020 call for a pilot European cybersecurity competence network and research and innovation roadmap. The ECHO consortium included 46 partners from public, private and research organizations from 20 EU Member States.

Although the ECHO project is now finishing, the consortium’s work on cybersecurity in the EU will continue through a transformation to a collaborative networked organization that will exploit the assets and software prototypes that have been developed, and other ECHO innovations.

Matteo Merialdo, RHEA Group Business Director, Security Engineering and Products, and ECHO project Implementation Coordinator, said: “ECHO produced very valuable, tangible technical results, contributing to many cybersecurity research and innovation topics and directly mitigating several important challenges identified at European level in 2018 when ECHO was conceived.

“Our technical outputs reached a high technical readiness level, thanks to a rigorous engineering, market-oriented process. The result is a portfolio of products and services ready to be exploited in the market, ranging from a federation of cyber-ranges, cyber threat intelligence processing and sharing, risk analysis and a sector-specific training portfolio.

“We demonstrated, together with the other three Horizon 2020 Pilot Projects, that a large European community including academia, research and industry can work together effectively towards common goals, bridging the gap between research and industry and advancing the state-of-the-art for the benefit of the entire community. This is one of the most valuable results of our efforts: building a strong community that will continue to work together and that constitutes the first vibrant embryo of the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre.”

ECHO assets

Among the many outputs from ECHO were seven key assets:

  • ECHO Early Warning System: a secured and collaborative information-sharing platform
  • ECHO Multi-sector Assessment Framework: transverse and inter-sector needs assessment and technology R&D roadmaps
  • ECHO Federated Cyber-Range: an advanced cyber simulation environment supporting training, R&D and certification, and a market platform for cyber-ranges and cyber-related services
  • ECHO Cyber Skills Framework
  • ECHO Security Certification Scheme
  • ECHO Governance Model
  • ECHO Technology Roadmaps and Intersector Prototypes.

Outputs from the ECHO project are available on the ECHO website at https://echonetwork.eu/

European Union flagThe research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under Grant Agreement no 83094.


ECHO closing event