One way to catch hackers is traffic analysis. Here, a network cable connector lights up red for control purposes.
Haya Shulman is researching in Frankfurt and Darmstadt how digital attacks can be prevented. She warns against underestimating the skills of Russian hackers.
RUssland’s ability to conduct modern warfare had been overestimated – this was often heard in the first few weeks after the attack on Ukraine. There was also a certain relief with regard to hacker attacks, because it seemed as if the abilities of Putin’s cyber fighters were limited to crippling Ukrainian government websites.
Haya Shulman didn’t share that optimism from the start, she says. The computer scientist explains that the risk of incorrectly assessing a threat arises from the way hackers proceed. They often plan their attacks well in advance. Malicious software is installed on the targeted computers, but the perpetrators sometimes refrain from activating it immediately. Such manipulations are difficult to detect during controls because the files smuggled in disguise themselves as harmless programs. Only when their developers wake them up does the work of destruction begin. It is therefore conceivable that the Russians had infiltrated critical infrastructure in the West unnoticed – and that the perpetrators were only waiting for a signal from the Kremlin to strike.