Preparedness and Resilience Enforcement for Critical INfrastructure Cascading Cyberphysical Threats and effects with focus on district or regional protection

EU Critical Infrastructures (CIs) are increasingly at risk from cyber-physical attacks and natural hazards. Research and emerging solutions focus on the protection of individual CIs, however, the interrelationships between CIs has become more complex and managing the impacts of cascading effects and enabling rapid recovery is becoming more pertinent and highly challenging.


PRECINCT (Preparedness and Resilience Enforcement for Critical INfrastructure Cascading Cyberphysical Threats and effects with focus on district or regional protection) aimed to connect private and public CI stakeholders in a geographical area to a common cyber-physical security management approach which yield a protected territory for citizens and infrastructures.


PRECINCT facts & figures

  • SU-INFRA01-2018-2019-2020 - Prevention, detection, response and mitigation of combined physical and cyber threats to critical infrastructure in Europe
  • This project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research
  • Grant agreement number: 101021668
  • Total Budget : € 9,472,739.05 (EU contribution : € 7,996,658.38)
  • Project start date: 6th October 2021
  • Project end date: 30th October 2023


The principal place where CI actors need urgent support and help is in advancing state of the Art thinking and tooling to address what industry, government and security experts affirm is a principal area of weakness: the area of connected, interdependent CI installations, plants and associated complex systems.

This advance state of the art in security tooling helped CI private and public actors with comprehensive and installation-specific approaches to secure existing and future connected and co-dependent installations. To achieve this target, the PRECINCT project was addressed in a multi-faceted way:

  • Understanding: To achieve a more fundamental understanding of interdependent Cis, PRECINCT leverages SOTA modelling techniques to accurately discern the current and future risks in territory-based interdependent CIs in a variety of multi-hazard conditions and configurations. A key goal is to enable CI actors to anticipate threats, to detect anomalies and to incentivize optimized command structures and coordinated responses between CIs and first responders, thereby minimizing cascading effects and allowing rapid recovery. To apprehend accuracy in assessing situational and future CI contexts, PRECINCT implements a “CI Resilience Index” supporting the identification of short- and long-term measures that enhance resilience.
  • Improving: The Digital Twins helped improving accuracy and automation in identification, remediation and threat elimination where the above models can be advanced towards more detailed models in the context of specific hazards. The application of Digital Twins to the multi-hazard risk management yielded a circular process of anticipating, preventing and protecting events, responding during the events, and recovering and learning after events. Learning from experience closes the loop by reducing the vulnerabilities and improving the capabilities of the system, which then became less vulnerable to future events and more resilient to cope with future disruptions.
  • Sustaining: Modelling CI interdependencies to identify, forecast or simulate potential cascading effects had limitations in identifying vulnerabilities in complex and co-dependent CI threat contexts. The dynamic nature of the threat canvas re-shapes based on new weekly exploits, the ingenuity of attackers in finding new and creative angles of attack, thus static and dynamic modelling approaches require considerable time and effort to maintain. The project took an innovative approach in the use of “Serious Games” as a promising vehicle to motivate and incentivize the collective pursuit of enhanced security, specifically vulnerabilities detection: “A key component of the gameplay dashboard is the inclusion of a real-time resilience score using the above modelling framework.”


The PRECINCT Ecosystem Platform has connected stakeholders of interdependent CIs and Emergency Services to collaboratively manage security and resilience exploiting Digital Twins, Serious Games and AI technologies. The objective was to improve CI protection for specific installations from vulnerabilities arising from interdependencies and cascading effects.

The validation scenarios, based in four large scale Living Labs and three transferability demonstrators, resulted in ready-to-use tools by the end of the project. Increased automation and accuracy in security and resilience management reduced costs and increased efficiency for CI management. The main societal benefits include enhanced overall physical security and safety levels, as well as data protection for personal and organisational information.



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