Operators of infrastructures such as power grids and airports are expected to ensure a high level of security – but their financial means are limited. Fraunhofer researchers have developed an analysis tool for evaluating the effectiveness and economic viability of different security measures as part of an EU-funded project.
Storms are capable of paralyzing entire cities. Only recently, in the first week of April, large parts of Germany were deprived of power due to hurricane-force winds. Rail services were cancelled, elevators were blocked, and computer screens went blank. Such extreme weather events often subside as quickly as they arrive but their effects reveal the Achilles heel of modern society, namely our dependence on critical infrastructures such as the power grid. Hence the urgent need for effective security measures. Other public infrastructures, such as airports and road networks, are similarly in need of increased security. “Quite simply, all operators of critical infrastructures want to increase security in order to ward off acts of sabotage and other malicious attacks. At the same time, they also have to make sure such measures are cost effective,” says Prof. Jan Jürjens of the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST, describing the basic dilemma.