ECHO project – The COVID-19 Hackers Mind-set

MODENA, 15/04/2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic has led not only to serious health and medical issues, but also to a huge increase in terms of cyberattacks. In order to face the escalation of such phenomenon, the ECHO network of cybersecurity centres joined forces to enhance its COVID-19 Cyber Defence Alliance. The combined effort of experts from 15 EU countries – including Zanasi & Partners – led to the drafting of a whitepaper, showing how this pandemic offers criminals the opportunity to target, through traditional attack techniques, a greater number of potential victims, resulting from the massive increase in companies and employees working from home, as well as children and young people who use computer for school and university education.

The full report is available at

Progetto PYTHIA – Seconda testing session

MODENA, 16/01/2020 – Il progetto PYTHIA (Predictive methodologY for TecHnology Intelligence Analysis) ha svolto la sua seconda testing session a Bruxelles, presso la sede dell’EDA (European Defence Agency), il 3 e il 4 Dicembre. Il progetto PYTHIA è stato finanziato nel contesto del programma PADR (Preparatory Action on Defence Research), atto a finanziare progetti in grado di incentivare la cooperazione, la competitività e l’innovazione nel campo della difesa europea.

Il consorzio di PYTHIA, guidato dal Project Coordinator Engineering Informatica S.p.A. e dal Technical Coordinator Zanasi & Partners, ha mostrato ai membri dell’EDA e della Commissione Europea presenti l’innovativa metodologia per effettuare previsioni tecnologiche di carattere strategico ed il loro possibile impatto sul modello di difesa dell’Unione Europea e degli Stati membri.

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Estremismi online, Zanasi: “Così il nostro progetto smonterà la propaganda” (press release)

MODENA, 09/01/2020 – I contenuti online si tingono sempre più di violenza dando luogo non solo a fenomeni di hating, ma anche a una potente radicalizzazione sociale, con effetti pericolosi per la società. Nel corso degli ultimi anni, in gran parte dell’Unione Europea si è registrato un aumento del trend sia in termini di violenza nei confronti dei civili che di adesione a diverse forme di estremismo ideologico.

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Alessandro ZANASI keynote speaker at the “EU Funding for Defence and Security Projects” conference (Brussels, December 2-3, 2019)

Ing. Alessandro Zanasi will be a keynote speaker at the “EU Funding for Defence and Security” event, organised by the European Academy in Brussels on December 2-3, 2019. On that occasion, Z&P’s President will deliver a presentation on “Strategic Technology Foresight in Defence – Experiences and Outlook 2020”, presenting activities and developments of the EDA-funded PYTHIA and SOLOMON projects (EDA PADR STF-2017/2018). This remarkable achievement comes as a proof of the steady growth of Z&P – only SME invited to deliver a presentation alongside key international actors, such as the European Investment Bank as well as the Greek and Finnish Ministries of Defence. Additional information on the event and the agenda is available at

Z&P’s team contributes to the publication of a new book on radicalisation

MODENA, 08/10/2019. Zanasi & Partners is glad to announce the publication of a new book – “Preventing Radicalisation and Terrorism in Europe – A comparative analysis of policies” – which relies on the experience developed within the EC-funded TRIVALENT (Terrorism pReventIon Via rAdicaLisation countEr-NarraTive) project. The book – prefaced by Prof. Luigi Moccia (TRIVALENT Project Coordinator), authored by Prof. Maria Luisa Maniscalco and Prof. Valeria Rosato (Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy) with the contribution of Dr. Santina Musolino (Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy), Prof. Cindy du Bois (Royal Military Academy, Belgium) and Dr. Willy Bruggerman (President of the Belgian Federal Police Board, Belgium) – offers an updated and critical assessment of the main anti-terrorism and anti-radicalisation policies implemented by five European countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom), as well as of their strengths, weaknesses, peculiarities and differences, identifying possible evolutionary lines and proposing a series of recommendations for policy-makers in their efforts to tackle the radicalisation phenomenon. Z&P’s team – composed by Ing. Alessandro Zanasi, Dr. Giovanni Vassallo and Dr. Angelo Rollo – has also relied on the expertise gained in the EC-funded CICERO (CounternarratIve Campaign for prEventing RadicalisatiOn) project to provide a relevant analysis on the role of civil society in policies to prevent radicalisation and terrorism in Europe.


More information on the book at

HackIstanbul 2019

Zanasi & Partners officially supports HackIstanbul 2019, an international cybersecurity event which will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, in September 2019, within the context of the Teknofest event.

HackIstanbul 2019 CTF (Capture the Flag) contest will gather thousands of hackers from 132 countries worldwide to exhibit their skills.

Hackers’ skills will be pushed to the limits by advanced real-life cyber-attack scenarios prepared under the guidance of the world’s foremost experts. Hackers who succeeded in the preselection stage have gained access to enter the CTF challenge on August 29th. Every stage with different levels of difficulty and complexity will push the hackers to the limits while raising the excitement of the contest to the highest level.

Hackers who have reached August 29th will face a 2nd preselection challenge; the 18 hour CTF challenge will carry only the best hackers to the final round. The top 10 teams who succeed the CTF will be invited to Istanbul for the grand final stage that will be hosted at Istanbul Atatürk Airport on September 21st.

The winning team will be awarded 10.000 USD grand prize, while the 2nd best team will be awarded 6.000 USD and the 3rd team will be awarded 3.000 USD.

The winners will get their prizes from The President of The Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

PYTHIA project – Testing sessions

MODENA, 18/06/2019 – The PADR PYTHIA project is entering its final stage. After almost 18-months of work, the consortium will be presenting the developed technology foresight prototype during a testing session that will take place on June, 19th at “Casa dell’Aviatore” (Rome, Italy). During this final interactive workshop, hosted by Zanasi & Partners (Technical and Scientific Coordinator of the project), the consortium will also collect feedback to be implemented in the final version. All consortium members and external experts will be in attendance, as well as representatives from the European Commission and the European Defence Agency.

PYTHIA project

For further information on the PYTHIA project:

Zanasi & Partners

Zanasi & Partners (Z&P) is a research and advisory company in the field of security and defence based in Modena. Its expertise includes big data analytics, cyber-security/cyber-defence, social media monitoring, threat, vulnerability and risk assessment. Among its clients, Z&P counts European Commission, ESA, ENISA, FRONTEX, CIRA, Siemens, GEDI Gruppo Editoriale, Booz&Co, as well as several ministries and government agencies falling under European countries and the MENA region.

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CICERO project (press release)

MODENA, 17/06/2019 – Zanasi & Partners has been awarded the European project CICERO (Counter narrative Campaign for Preventing Radicalisation), coordinated by the University of Turin and funded by the EC’s Internal Security Fund.

The overall objective of the project is to design and develop a campaign with the aim to spread counter-narrative messages addressing individuals at different stages of radicalization, as well as to empower (by enhancing resilience and critical thinking) civil society in the prevention and contrast of such phenomenon.

The project, started in February 2019 and to be implemented for until February 2021, involves technological companies, associations and various policy and research organizations from 3 European Countries (Italy, Spain and Belgium).

More specifically, the project consortium is composed by:

• Università degli Studi di Torino (UNITO);
• Zanasi & Partners (Z&P);
• Centro Studi Internazionali (CeSI);
• Novareckon (NR);
• Society Against Violent Extremism (SAVE);
• Tecoms Srl (TEC);
• European Foundation for Democracy (EFD);
• Confederazione Islamica Italiana (CII);
• Expert System Iberia (ESI);
• Infotron Europa SL (IE).

The project will deal with different kinds of radicalisation narratives, ranging from those related to political and religious extremism, to left-wing, right-wing and single-issue extremism. The aim is to undermine the appeal of the extremist propaganda, while also providing credible and positive alternatives to the related narratives. In order to reach that goal, the CICERO consortium will, at first, identify the target audiences that are considered particularly susceptible to extremist propaganda. The most prominent radicalisation narratives circulating across the EU will be therefore collected and analysed.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of the counter-narrative campaign, the consortium will also develop and implement a multi-level assessment methodology, which will allow to monitor and progressively assess the impact of the campaign itself on the target recipients. More particularly, such campaign will seek to undermine the appeal of contents that either encourage or justify violence – on political, religious, ethnic or social grounds – by means of multimedia messages and contents designed to challenge violent narratives, as well as to provide positive alternatives centered upon the promotion of democratic values and fundamental rights embedded in EU society.

CICERO project

For further information on the CICERO project:

Zanasi & Partners

Zanasi & Partners (Z&P) is a research and advisory company in the field of security and defence based in Modena. Its expertise includes big data analytics, cyber-security/cyber-defence, social media monitoring, threat, vulnerability and risk assessment. Among its clients, Z&P counts European Commission, ESA, ENISA, FRONTEX, CIRA, Siemens, GEDI Gruppo Editoriale, Booz&Co, as well as several ministries and government agencies falling under European countries and the MENA region.

For further information on Z&P:

Intelligenza artificiale e infrastrutture finanziarie: il contributo europeo alla sicurezza (press release)

MODENA, 03/06/2019 – Quali sono le vulnerabilità delle misure di sicurezza dei sistemi finanziari tradizionali? Come si possono sfruttare le nuove tecnologie informatiche (come la Blockchain, già ampiamente utilizzata nel mondo delle cripto-valute) e gli ultimi sviluppi nell’intelligenza artificiale per difendersi? A queste domande cerca di rispondere il progetto Finsec, finanziato dalla Commissione Europea nell’ambito del programma Horizon 2020.

Iniziato nel maggio 2018 e coordinato da GFT Italia, il progetto coinvolge 23 partner – tra cui IBM e Fujitsu – in 10 paesi europei. Tra le aziende italiane coinvolte troviamo anche Zanasi & Partners, società italiana di ricerca e consulenza in materia di Sicurezza e Difesa.

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ECHO project – Kick-off meeting (press release)

MODENA, 27/02/2019 – The ECHO project (European network of Cybersecurity centres and competence Hub for innovation and Operations) is one of four Pilot projects, launched by the European Commission, to establish and operate a Cybersecurity Competence Network. Amid keynote presentations from supporting representatives of EU agencies and industry, the project was officially launched at the Conference Hall of the Royal Military Academy of Belgium, on February 25th, 2019.

The ECHO project will deliver an organized and coordinated approach to strengthen proactive cyber defence in the European Union, through effective and efficient multi-sector collaboration. The project already involves 30 partners from the East to the West of Europe, and is actively engaging new partners interested to contribute to the cybersecurity resilience of the EU and in reaching the collaboration goals.

Through the project, the ECHO partners will develop, model and demonstrate a network of cybersecurity research and competence, with a centre of research and competence at the hub. While technology companies struggle with a fragmented view of security requirements across industrial sectors and fragmented national policies for security test and certification, the ECHO project will contribute an adaptive model for information sharing and collaboration among the network of partners and related agencies.

The main goal of the project is to organize and optimize the currently fragmented cybersecurity efforts across the EU. The Central Competence Hub will serve as the focal point for the ECHO Multi-sector Assessment Framework enabling multi-sector cybersecurity dependencies analysis and management including:

  • Development of cybersecurity technology roadmaps;
  • Creation of an ECHO Cybersecurity Certification Scheme aligned with ongoing EU efforts;
  • Provision of an ECHO Early Warning System;
  • Operation of an ECHO Federation of Cyber Ranges;
  • Delivery of the ECHO Cyberskills Framework, with training materials and training events;
  • Management of an expanding collection of Partner Engagements.


Through a 48-month work plan significant outcomes will contribute to improvements in the state of cybersecurity resilience across the EU. These significant events include:

  • Early outcomes from the ECHO Multi-sector Assessment Framework in early 2020, with identifiable opportunities for cross-sectoral cybersecurity improvement;
  • Deployment of operational demonstrations of the ECHO Early Warning System and ECHO Federated Cyber Range by mid- 2021, providing value added capabilities to partners and associated organizations.
  • Launch of multi-sector scenario demonstrations in mid-2021 involving technology solutions to cybersecurity challenges across primary sectors of Health Care, Maritime Transportation and Energy as a critical infrastructures, and including related sectors;
  • Ongoing evolution, improvement and adaptation of project outcomes throughout 2022.


The ECHO impact will be far-reaching. ECHO offers sustainable governance for a cybersecurity competence network, increasing the cybersecurity of the Digital Single Market across the EU. ECHO provides multi-centre engagement opportunities for new partners from EU agencies, industries and academia. ECHO’s approach will drive the possibilities to ensure resilient capacities to secure the European digital economy, infrastructures, society, and democracy.

Through collaborative information sharing, ECHO will deliver up-to-date knowledge of cybersecurity challenges, potential risks and threats together with forward-looking solution demonstrations that will contribute to improved understanding of the cybersecurity baseline and promote more effective use of the EU’s cybersecurity capabilities. Ultimately, ECHO will enhance the stakeholders’ capacities with better readiness and improved resilience capabilities.

To make the ECHO vision a concrete reality in Europe, ECHO comprises 30 partners from 15 EU member countries plus Ukraine, representing 13 existing cybersecurity competence centres and comprised of five research institutes in the cybesecurity domain; eleven large enterprises; four SME’s; and ten top level universities in cybersecurity including experts in human factors, experts in legal and ethical issues and communication.

The ECHO project is led by the Project Coordinator, Professor Wim Mees of the Royal Military Academy of Belgium. He is supported by a Project Management Board and a set of functional leaders ensuring success of the project. These supporting leaders include a Project Implementation Coordinator (Matteo Merialdo from RHEA Group); a Scientific and Technical Management Coordinator (Dr. Nikolai Stoianov from the Bulgarian Defence Institute); a Multi-sector Innovation and Exploitation Coordinator (Douglas Wiemer from RHEA Group); and a Quality and Data Management Coordinator (Tiago Carvalho from VisionSpace Technologies).


ECHO project

For further information on the ECHO project:

Zanasi & Partners

Zanasi & Partners (Z&P) is a research and advisory company in the field of security and defence based in Modena. Its expertise includes big data analytics, cyber-security/cyber-defence, social media monitoring, threat, vulnerability and risk assessment. Among its clients, Z&P counts European Commission, ESA, ENISA, FRONTEX, CIRA, Siemens, GEDI Gruppo Editoriale, Booz&Co, as well as several ministries and government agencies falling under European countries and the MENA region.

For further information on Z&P: