Sixteen sectors make up the nation’s CI1. The incapacitation or destruction of any sector would devastate national economic security, public health, public safety, or any combination thereof.
They are dependent on each other. An attack on one sector can have devasting consequences for different sectors. The U.S. government has centralized strategies to ensure that CI Protection (CIP) is planned and implemented in a disciplined and unified manner. Along the same lines, the U.S DoD has introduced CMMC solution for DIB vendors who wish to work with the government.
The Nation’s Critical Infrastructure is Subject to Increasing Physical and Cyber Attacks. But Why?
Over the past two decades, the U.S. has given CIP more attention. Due to the ongoing attacks on the country’s CI, the U.S. administration has been putting forth a serious effort to develop methods and strategies for safeguarding CI. These CI attacks have a common thread in that the national infrastructure themselves rather than the data were the target.
The goal of attackers on CI is to interfere with the country’s economic, social, geopolitical, and general health & safety to advance their own political, social, or financial objectives.
In another sense, corporate and mission IT systems handle information management, whereas industrial control systems handle operational tasks involving the physical world. Assault on CI is more concerned with damaging the availability and integrity of industrial control devices than jeopardizing information confidentiality.
The tangible repercussions of an assault on these infrastructures, whether it be physical or cyber, could be catastrophic for the public and private sectors in the United States.
As CI Sectors have become increasingly linked, it has become simpler for hackers to exploit network weaknesses effectively. Additionally, attackers are now able to execute cyberattacks and, in some situations, even eclipse actual assaults, thanks to the Internet and other technologies.
However, don’t be persuaded that those violent assaults are obsolete. Many attackers still favor physical assaults against CI as an attack method.
What are the Cyber and physical attacks to Critical Infrastructure?
Physical assaults were apparent even 200 years ago, and they still are. They can be seen, researched, and defended against with the proper physical measures. Classic instances include detonating train lines and bridges. However, it is far more challenging to monitor, research, and create defenses against cyber-attacks.
Cyberattack vectors change more frequently, making virtual safeguards already in place worthless. In other circumstances, such as SolarWinds, a cyber-attack on a CI Sector is not recognized until it is too late. It is crucial to emphasize that the SolarWinds attack affected several CI Sectors in this instance.
Physical Attacks on CI
Social and political activists persist in posing an internal threat to the United States. Considering the social and political concerns of the day, the majority of these physical assaults were directed against the government and commercial enterprise targets.
Cyber Attacks on CI
In addition to the ongoing threat of physical attacks, cyberattacks are now possible. Cyberattacks on CI have increased dramatically between 2000 and 2022.
Virtual attacks are, by their very nature, challenging to oversee statistically. Still, according to evidential data over the past ten years, it can be argued that cyber attacks on CI have substantially increased in a non-linear way, mainly because Internet-based technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), Operational Technology (OT), and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems have been rapidly adopted.
Protection of Critical Infrastructure
All organizations within each CI Sector are required to put in place the proper security measures like CMMC compliance requirements for their respective CI sector or sectors without impeding their ability to carry out their purpose or continue offering services. It’s nothing new.
The reliability of threat intelligence and the likelihood of attacks that could conceivably attack its assets will determine how effective security measures are. One must include the most likely attack routes against those systems and their use and operation.
The company now has to know how to defend its systems against attackers who are taking advantage of a digitally interconnected world, which has consequences for both the public and commercial sectors. Identifying vulnerable points and defending them before the cyber attackers may use them against you is crucial.
To help with CIP, the US government has a lot of centralized resources. The National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) describes how members in the critical infrastructure community from the public and commercial sectors collaborate to manage risks and accomplish security and resilience goals. The nation’s physical and cyber infrastructure is being understood, organized, and reduced risk under the direction of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). To help CI stakeholders develop and manage their own physical and cyber security and adaptability, CISA offers information, analysis, and tools.