Infrastructure Security

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Written by Karina Kokina

What Do We Mean By Infrastructure In This Context?

Infrastructure refers to the fundamental facilities and systems like:

  • roads
  • bridges
  • water supply
  • power grids
  • communication networks
  • transportation systems

These all support a country’s economy and daily life.

It is crucial for a nation’s security because strong infrastructure ensures reliable access to essential services, supports economic stability, and enhances the ability to respond effectively to emergencies and threats.

It’s obvious to see how protecting these vital assets is crucial – hence our interest in Infrastructure Security.

Infrastructure Security Webinars

Infrastructure Security Webinars

Below is a list of webinars that are associated with Infrastructure Security.

The Current State of Infrastructure Security (in the US)

The current state of infrastructure security in the USA is a mixed landscape of progress and ongoing challenges.

Critical infrastructure, which includes sectors such as energy, water, transportation, and communications, faces constant threats from both nation-state actors and cybercriminals.

Infrastructure Security Webinars

Recent incidents have highlighted vulnerabilities, prompting increased federal attention and resources to bolster defenses.

Key Measures and Initiatives:

  1. National Security Memorandum (NSM): In April 2024, the Biden-Harris Administration issued a new National Security Memorandum to enhance the resilience of U.S. critical infrastructure. This memorandum empowers the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) as the National Coordinator for Security and Resilience, to lead a comprehensive government effort to secure critical infrastructure. The NSM mandates regular risk assessments and intelligence sharing to address evolving threats.
  2. Federal and Private Sector Collaboration: The NSM reinforces collaboration between federal agencies, state and local governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure. This approach aims to create a unified defense against cyber threats and improve the overall resilience of critical systems.
  3. AI Risk Mitigation: The DHS has introduced guidelines to address risks associated with Artificial Intelligence (AI). These guidelines focus on preventing AI from being used to enhance cyber and physical attacks, protecting AI systems from targeted attacks, and ensuring robust design and implementation to avoid unintended consequences.
  4. Investments in Infrastructure Resilience: The administration has allocated significant funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including $50 billion specifically for infrastructure resilience. This funding supports over 4,000 projects aimed at fortifying infrastructure against various hazards, thereby enhancing the nation’s ability to withstand and quickly recover from disruptions.

These measures highlight the ongoing efforts to safeguard U.S. infrastructure.

However, the evolving threat landscape, including advanced cyber tactics from nation-state actors and the integration of emerging technologies like AI, requires continuous adaptation and vigilance to maintain and enhance infrastructure security.

What Protects Are There In Place?

To understand how we can protect against critical infrastructure hacking we need to mention SCADA and ICS!

This table below is an attempt to oultine the imporancne of SCADA/ICS within Cybersecurity.

ImportanceDescriptionAction Points
Protection of Critical InfrastructureEnsures the continuous and safe operation of essential services like power grids, water treatment facilities, and transportation systems.Implement comprehensive cybersecurity measures
Prevention of DisruptionsHelps prevent disruptions that could lead to significant economic losses, safety hazards, or national security threats.Establish incident response protocols
Compliance with RegulationsHelps organizations comply with industry regulations and standards for cybersecurity.Adhere to regulatory requirements
Resilience Against Cyber AttacksEnhances the ability of infrastructure to withstand and recover from cyber attacks, ensuring reliability and safety.Develop robust backup and recovery plans

What About The Threat Types?

Threat ConcernDescriptionAction Points
Threat Detection and PreventionMonitor network traffic for suspicious activity and potential threats. Separate critical systems from other parts of the network to prevent unauthorized access.Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)
Firewalls and Network Segmentation
Access ControlEnsure that only authorized personnel can access critical systems. Add an extra layer of security beyond just passwords.Authentication and Authorization
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Patch Management and UpdatesEnsure that all systems are up-to-date with the latest security patches to protect against known vulnerabilities. Work with vendors to receive timely updates and security patches.Regular Software Updates
Vendor Collaboration
Incident Response and RecoveryEstablish protocols for responding to security breaches and mitigating damage. Regularly back up data and have recovery plans in place to restore operations quickly after an incident.Incident Response Plans
Backup and Recovery
Security Training and AwarenessEducate employees on cybersecurity best practices and the importance of security protocols. Regularly update staff on emerging threats and new security measures.Employee Training
Awareness Programs
Physical SecurityImplement measures to protect the physical components of SCADA/ICS systems from tampering or unauthorized access. Use cameras and other monitoring tools to detect physical security breaches.Securing Physical Access
Surveillance and Monitoring
Advanced TechnologiesUse advanced technologies to detect anomalies and potential threats in real-time. Monitor the behavior of systems and users to identify unusual patterns that may indicate a security breach.AI and Machine Learning
Behavioral Analysis

Implementing robust SCADA/ICS cybersecurity measures is essential to protect these critical systems from increasingly sophisticated cyber threats.

See citations below that were used in this article creation

  1. RAND: Threats to America’s Critical Infrastructure Are Now a Terrifying Reality
  2. The White House: National Security Memorandum on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience
  3. CISA: National Security Memorandum on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience
  4. DHS: Guidelines to Secure Critical Infrastructure and Weapons of Mass Destruction from AI-Related Threats
  5. CISA Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – Guide to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security