The Cyber Induced Electrical Interference, And The Event Displays The Potential Susceptibility Of Critical Infrastructure

The Cyber Induced Electrical Interference, And The Event Displays The Potential Susceptibility Of Critical Infrastructure

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Ukraine was the first cyber induced electrical interference, and the event displays the potential susceptibility of critical infrastructure to cyber attacks. The threat is no longer a problem of the future, but a relevant issue that threatens U.S. stability. Nevertheless, CI organizations and governments must review and establish regulations to enhance their cyber defenses.
ICS and SCADA. As discussed previously, the introduction of new technologies has revamped the CI environment, enabling the oil and gas, energy, and water distribution networks to operate seamlessly with minimal manual input. Although “this wave of hyper-connectivity has benefitted host communities, it has given rise to new vulnerabilities, and ones that require a new type of defense” (Timms, 2016, p. 2). Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems and Industrial Control Systems (ICS) are the framework for a majority of U.S. infrastructure systems and serve as regulatory controls for civilian management in multiple CI sectors. These systems process collected data and regulate physical systems with minimum human input. SCADA and ICS systems are integral to complex CI networks that would be difficult to manually control (Epstein, 2016). In 2012, the ICSs of the Telvent company, a manufacturer of SCADA technology used in some of the nation’s CI sectors (e.g., power grid, oil and gas, and water system), reported a breach in files possessing SCADA project data (Zetter, 2015).
There are three main areas identified as threat vectors for cyber security in relation to CIP: IT networks, insider threats, and equipment and software. Normally, ICS operate on an internal network, called OT (Operational Technology). Occasionally, this isolated network requires a...


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...itecture must link multiple functions that aid in protection, detection, and corrective functions to foster a system better tailored to defeat a nation-state directed cyber attack (Aspen Institute, 2015).
Human Elements. Even with the advancement in cyber security technology, the human element involved with preventing cyber threats is just as vital. An effective approach must balance technical training and technological advancement, as those who invoke cyber attacks are not limited to coding and data. Unfortunately, Timms (2016) posits a “shortage of professionals who understand both the digital security landscape and the way in which these threats manifest themselves in critical infrastructure” (p. 4). This supports the need for an increase in experienced operators who are able to adapt to the unpredictable aspects of the human element involved in cyber attacks.

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