Last Tuesday, Belnet was hit by an unprecedented cyberattack. More and more cyberattacks are occurring in our country and often the consequences are incalculable. In addition to hardware and software, buildings can also be protected against cyberattacks. Vianovix in Zele has developed an application to shield buildings and thus keep hackers at bay. KU Leuven worked on this solution together with them. “With our invisible electrically conductive coating, we make it more difficult for hackers to enter the building”, says eng. Luc Michiels of Vianovix.
An increasing number of companies and organisations are seeking optimum protection against hackers who are after their business information. The significant rise in remote working from home comes with new issues and challenges, especially in terms of network security. At the FMEC lab of KU Leuven campus Bruges, specific research is done on how electronic equipment interacts with electromagnetic radiation and on the protection of equipment.
Prof. Dr. Eng. Johan Catrysse: “Cybercriminals are increasingly trying to break into a company’s network from just a few hundred meters away to gain access to certain electronics and data. It is not that hard to do. Using simple software, they can intercept network signals, capture a computer screen, and duplicate data. You do not have to be an Einstein to sabotage a company’s systems from a distance, without leaving any traces.”
Conductive film as an efficient security solution
This cyberattack technique is fairly recent and often stays under the radar. But the consequences are not to be underestimated. “Since we have become more dependent on wireless communication, our electronic equipment has become more vulnerable. With these targeted IEMI attacks, telecommunication and energy networks can be seriously disrupted. Critical sectors, such as financial institutions and hospitals, are frequently targeted. And unfortunately, our existing infrastructure does not offer enough security.”
In collaboration with KU Leuven, the manufacturer of innovative protective film, Vianovix, has now developed a solution for windows that stops radiofrequency radiation to offer optimum protection for the building as well as the electronic equipment inside. “Studies reveal that windows are the critical point in a building; they hardly block any radiation. Our Spylock coating is specially designed to reduce transmission of electromagnetic radiation from outside. You could compare it to foil on the inside of your microwave. But our film is totally transparent and lets through sufficient light”, eng. Luc Michiels of Vianovix claims.
With this first shielding application, Vianovix mainly aims at the office market and government organisations, as their buildings have large glass surfaces. “With the introduction of 5G and more IoT applications, hackers will have an even better network at their disposal. So, the time has come to prepare our infrastructure for this new form of cybercrime. By placing the coating on existing windows or as an intermediate layer in new glazing, we have a quick and simple way of armouring the building envelope”, says eng. Luc Michiels.