Our society has become more automated than ever before. Naturally, we do not give this much thought, but it does mean that the Netherlands are highly vulnerable in this respect. The failure of essential ICT infrastructures - for instance in banking or utilities - may cause significant damage.

Trade & Industry and the authorities are therefore doing their utmost to protect these infrastructures against attacks from outside through viruses, hackers or Trojan Horses. In this respect, Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) - the disturbance of ICT infrastructures by electromagnetic fields - is often not being considered. And very often EMI is not noticed at all. Modern equipment nowadays has to comply with a normative protection level, but this will not be enough if lightning strikes or interference is intentional. TNO helps to take effective measures against EMI. In our vision there are two types of EMI: unintentional and intentional interference.

Effective protection

We speak of unintentional interference when e.g. transmitters are being used near an ICT infrastructure, causing it to function in a suboptimal way. Intentional interference may be attacks by so-called cyberterrorists. In the Netherlands, Defence was the first to understand the vulnerability of its own ICT networks, calling in TNO to solve this problem, thus allowing TNO to build up much experience and expertise, that may also be applied in Trade & Industry. A TNO track involving the effective protection of infrastructures against (un)intentional EMI consists of several phases: taking stock of the infrastructures, establishing the (vulnerability of) critical systems when it comes to EMI, and defining and implementing a balanced protection level.

Just protection, however, is not enough. TNO support therefore also includes the drawing up and monitoring of an infrastructure protection management plan, as well as periodical checks.