The Advanced research Workshop (ARW) on Cybersecurity of Industrial Control Systems (ICS), which will combine the application of scientific research and technological innovations as applied to practical applications. Until recently, the dominant cybersecurity activities in post-soviet republics have been centered on the protection of computers, computer networks and data. However nowadays, as ICT applications expand, the most vulnerable facilities are numerous industrial systems, often designed and constructed with little thought to security and using simple interconnected Programmable Logic Controllers They are an easy target for sophisticated cyberattacks, performed by well coordinated teams, some of them politically motivated. The times when cyberattacks were done by ambitious hackers, striving to get recognition of their own peers and societies, are over.

Nowadays, Critical Infrastructures (CI) rely on digital systems, such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and ICS operations. These systems have the option for remote access, which can be possibly seized by an intruder which is a significant risk. In case the ICS controls a number of rigs, and the wrong data is fed into the control logic, the equipment might be damaged or even incapacitated. Clearly, the malfunctioning of the digital device is behind the destruction of the physical infrastructure. It is fairly trivial to imagine that the rigs are replaced with trains, power systems (both hydro and nuclear ones), or the drinking water suppliers.

The 3-day workshop will be organized predominantly in an on-line mode with an opening ceremony to be held on 27.10.2021 at the Presidium of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences in Baku, Azerbaijan. The workshop will consist of following sessions:

-       Opening ceremony with 4 key-note speeches on cybereducation and protection of critical infrastructures

-       Cybersecurity of critical infrastructures

-       Cybersecurity education – programmes and laboratories

-       Vulnerability analysis, testing, and risk management

-       ICS/PLC/SCADA testbeds and research facilities

-       Intrusion detection, mitigation and prevention

-       Digital forensics for ICS/PLCs

The complexity and the incidence of large-scale cyberattacks on critical infrastructures in Azerbaijan, including rounds on ICS, PLC, and SCADA, are perpetually increasing. The annual reports of various cybersecurity companies in Azerbaijan reflect both the serious and prevalent nature of APT attacks and next-generation malware. Considering that the economy of Azerbaijan is, among other things, intensely based on the oil industry and that relations with some of its neighbours are apprehensive, it is imperative to protect the national infrastructure from disruptions that may harm the economy, the overall safety of the nation, and hence the well-being of the population. The cyberattacks on the national Internet infrastructure, such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline control system, SCADA systems of the national power grid, banks, online payment systems, and other critical infrastructures, are frequently reported. Recent developments show that the widespread usage of computer-controlled unmanned devices such as drones, which potentially might be disordered by cyberattacks, had become a matter of national security.

Digital transformation strategy is one of the priorities of state policy in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan's economy is being modernized based on Industry 4.0, and the e-government services are being digitally transformed. Azerbaijan is also carrying out several important activities in the field of creating a digital hub connecting Europe with Asia. Considering the above mentioned, it is very important to protect its critical infrastructures against possible attempts to disturb the Azerbaijani economy and the population wellbeing.

The workshop's principal goal is to strengthen and foster the effort by institutions and organisations in Azerbaijan in building capacities in cybersecurity, primarily graduate education and research. An integral part of the whole endeavour is to encourage and assist the Azerbaijani industry in adopting novel, efficient and effective technologies that will generate and preserve the critical industrial infrastructure's protection, safety, and resilience.