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Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure

Dr. Jane LeClair

The recent cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline has created a good deal of disruption in the lives of people in the SE

United States. It also clearly demonstrated how vulnerable the elements of our critical infrastructure are despite years

of warning by cyber professionals.

In review, the 16 elements or sectors that comprise what is commonly accepted as critical infrastructure are:

Chemical, Commercial Facilities, Communications, Critical Manufacturing, Dams, Defense Industrial Base, Emergency Services, Energy, Financial Services, Food and Agriculture, Government Facilities, Healthcare and Public Health,, Information Technology, Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste, Transportation Systems, Water and Wastewater Systems.

While each is in its own right important, many feel the two most important are Energy and Water. As humans we cannot survive without a water supply and all sectors rely on power to function. This 'Ransomware' attack on our energy sector, in this case fuel, should once again, and clearly, sound alarm bells throughout government and private agencies responsible for the protection of our vital sectors.

For many years rogue nations and nefarious groups have been probing our cyber defenses seeking inroads as to how they might do us harm. With the attack on the Colonial pipeline it would appear they have succeeded.

Many cyber professionals have feared that this quiet ongoing accumulation of cyber inroads, husbanded for the appropriate time, might result in a cyber "Pearl Harbor' that would cripple our nation.

Alarm bells are sounding with a loud peal....but is anyone listening?


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