Cyberwar - Big Bang or Attacks in the Background?
In connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, concern is also growing in Germany about possible cyberattacks against critical infrastructures: communications, energy supply, transport, industrial production, research, administration - almost no area in a highly developed country can do without modern information and communication technologies."Attacks on digital infrastructure by criminal or state organizations threaten not only the prosperity and security of our society, but also freedom and democracy," warns Professor Jörn Müller-Quade of KASTEL - Institute for Information Security and Reliability at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).
Cybersecurity experts like Müller-Quade have long complained that companies, public bodies and institutions are not well prepared for digital threats. On the contrary: "We now urgently need to develop ambitious security concepts for critical infrastructures, which in particular also have analog emergency plans." The failure of the remote control of thousands of wind turbines last week made people prick up their ears, he said. The really big attack in the cyber war could nevertheless fail to materialize, he believes. "The big bang is not always the goal, especially because it is noticed immediately and triggers countermeasures." In fact, many attacks run in the background, for example to spy on targets in order to prepare larger attacks later.
In addition, Müller-Quade complains above all about Europe's high dependence on software and hardware manufactured in third countries. "The expert believes that one way to ensure digital sovereignty is to produce more stable software of our own in Europe. Müller-Quade is relying on the open source principle, i.e., software whose source code is freely accessible and can therefore be modified collectively.
Müller-Quade does not see the creation of a cyber army, as is being debated in the course of the planned 100-billion-euro investment in the German armed forces, as a major priority. "IT security must improve so that we don't have to reckon with major damage in the first place; this protection seems more urgent to me than the creation of a cyber army. So, figuratively speaking, I would invest here mainly in fortresses and not in cannons.It's a matter of ensuring that important facilities continue to function even if IT systems fail."
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