What is Critical Infrastructure Protection?

Today’s businesses operate in a constantly changing, highly connected world. With the rapid development of digital technologies, businesses have to operate in a 24/7 digital economy. These changes have also brought with them new risks like cyberattacks.

Critical infrastructure protection is an important step in ensuring security. It involves protecting and defending against cyber-attacks that could potentially damage or disrupt the services that are provided by critical infrastructures.

Critical infrastructure protection is not just about preventing cyber-attacks from happening, but also about responding to them when they do happen. The response needs to be quick, effective and proportional.

What is critical infrastructure?

Critical infrastructure consists of computers and networks that control essential services such as power generation, telecommunication, financial services, and healthcare. It includes systems that monitor and manage critical infrastructure such as sensors, growing cities, and climate systems. Critical infrastructure is sometimes referred to as “critical infrastructure security”.

The Australian Federal Government recently passed a critical infrastructure bill making it mandatory for critical infrastructure owners and operators to have industry-designed risk management programs that build on regulatory frameworks.

The bill gives the government the right to declare systems of national significance and impose enhanced cybersecurity obligations on the business owners.

What is a cyber-attack?

A cyber-attack is an attempt to disrupt, disable, or exploit a computer system or network. A cyber-attack can be carried out by either an individual or a group of individuals. These attacks are mostly done for the purpose of espionage, sabotage, and stealing sensitive information.

Common cyber-attacks include:

Malware: software which is designed to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, and spyware.

Ransomware: a type of malware that blocks access to the system it infects, and demands a ransom payment in order to unblock it. It is typically spread through email, social media and other methods.

Phishing: a type of scam that uses legitimate looking emails, telephone calls, and fake websites to trick people into revealing personal information like passwords and credit card numbers.

Denial of service (DOS): an attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users. This type of attack typically involves flooding the target with superfluous requests in an attempt to overload systems and prevent some or all legitimate requests from being fulfilled.

Man-in-the-middle: a form of active eavesdropping, where the cybercriminal intercepts messages between two communicating parties and replaces or modifies them to change the content. 

Brute force: an unauthorised attempt to log into a system by guessing passwords or breaking in using other security exploits.

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework and critical infrastructure protection

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is an essential tool in identifying network vulnerabilities. The Cybersecurity Framework is designed to provide the foundational structure necessary to properly align cybersecurity activities across all levels of any business – from strategic planning, execution, and measurement. 

It also serves as a means of co-ordination between stakeholders in different sectors who have varying responsibilities while protecting shared critical cyber infrastructure through collaboration.

Having a sound cybersecurity strategy starts with having a good understanding of the threats your business faces, as well as the type of protection you need.

Creating risk management plans for your business

A risk management plan is a valuable tool for organisations that need to understand and evaluate the risk of cybersecurity incidents. It guides your business through the process of identifying risks, determining the likelihood of an incident happening, and developing appropriate safeguards to reduce the likelihood of an incident.

The first step to creating a risk management plan is to identify potential risks, and then assess the level of each one.

Next, you need to evaluate the probability that a specific event will happen. This will help you decide what steps you need to take in order for it not happen. For example, if an event has low likelihood of occurring but could have high consequences, you need to decide how urgently it needs attention.

Finally, you need to identify what type of financial loss could happen and how much it would cost if each incident did occur. You should also include how long it would take for the company's reputation and brand value to recover, as well as any financial or legal issues that could arise.

Get the right cyber protection from the experts

Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving field, and new threats emerge every day. It’s important for today’s businesses to maintain up-to-date cybersecurity protection in order to prevent attacks from penetrating their networks.

However, even though cybersecurity is a constantly changing field, there are certain cybersecurity concepts that never go out of style. These include the need for strong cybersecurity practices, the importance of security culture, and the need for awareness.

These concepts are crucial no matter which sector you operate in. They can help you protect your business against both internal and external threats.

The security strategists at Essential Tech can help you bring your critical infrastructure fully up-to-code. They have all the expertise and experience to guide your business on best security practises and risk mitigation plans.

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