Infrastructure security

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Infrastructure security is the security provided to protect infrastructure, especially critical infrastructure, such as airports, highways [1] rail transport, hospitals, bridges, transport hubs, network communications, media, the electricity grid, dams, power plants, seaports, oil refineries, and water systems. Infrastructure security seeks to limit vulnerability of these structures and systems to sabotage, terrorism, and contamination.[2]

Critical infrastructures naturally utilize information technology as this capability has become more and more available. As a result, they have become highly interconnected, and interdependent. Intrusions and disruptions in one infrastructure might provoke unexpected failures to others. How to handle interdependencies becomes an important problem.[3]

The most recent example of vulnerable infrastructure was the electrical grid in 2003, when Northeastern American areas experienced a power outage that appears to have originated in the Midwest, and possibly from a tree branch.[4]

Potential causes of infrastructure failure[edit]

Critical infrastructure is vital for essential functioning of a country. Incidental or deliberate damage will have serious impact on the economy as well as providing essential services to the communities it serves. There are a number of reasons why infrastructure needs to be heavily secured and protected.

Security challenges for the electricity infrastructure[edit]

One of the fundamental foundations of modern society is the electrical power systems. An intentional disruption of electricity supplies would affect national security, the economy, and every person's life. Because power grids and their sources are widely dispersed, this is a challenge for the effectiveness of defensive organizations and structures.[5]

Sabotage can damage electrical sources for the power grid, including civilian nuclear power stations. Sabotage in the form of cyberattacks can create havoc with computer, communication, and information systems, which could severely interrupt the electrical supply. This in turn can cause major disruptions to other infrastructure components of society. Comprehensive defense plans are proposed.[3]

One method is to isolate load systems. Sophisticated defense systems should be wide-area, real-time protection, with control systems that are alerted and guided by sensing technologies. Communication and information must be capably routed.[3]


Many countries have initiated government agencies to directly manage the security of critical infrastructure usually through the Ministry of Interior/Home Affairs, dedicated security agencies to protect facilities such as United States Federal Protective Service and also creation of dedicated transport police such as the British Transport Police. There are also commercial transportation security units such as the Amtrak Police in the United States.

A number of government organizations has focus on infrastructure security and protection. The Technical Support Working Group has the Infrastructure Protection Subgroup. The UK has the National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre.

Several infrastructures also use fiber optic perimeter intrusion detection security systems, which enables the detection and location of intrusions over many miles of deployed fiber. This is commonly used at water utility sites[6] and at other critical infrastructure sites globally.[7]

See also[edit]

US specific:


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-12-16. Retrieved 2008-12-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b c Li, Hao; et al. (May 2005). "Strategic Power Infrastructure Defense" (PDF). Proceedings of the IEEE. 93 (5): 918–933. doi:10.1109/JPROC.2005.847260. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Massoud, Amin (April 2002). "Security Challenges for the Electricity Infrastructure (Supplement to Computer Magazine)". Computer. 35 (4): 8. doi:10.1109/MC.2002.10042.
  6. ^ Future Fibre Technologies Inc and Unlimited Technology Inc announce a major perimeter security upgrade program for 24 pennsylvania based water utility sites , Forbes. Retrieved 2010-21-04.
  7. ^ Perimeter Protection Critical Sites, GIT Security. Retrieved 2010-05-03.

External links[edit]