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Cyber Crime Puts Our Critical Infrastructures in Danger

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By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski
Faculty Member, Criminal Justice, American Military University

Cyber crimes are on the rise. The estimated annual cost of global cybercrime is about $600 billion and growing. The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI recently alerted critical infrastructure stakeholders of cyber crime threats to infiltrate industrial control systems involving the electrical and nuclear power industry, in addition to critical infrastructure that involves the water, aviation and manufacturing sectors.

In addition to threatening critical infrastructures, cyber crime also abets:

  • Child pornography
  • Child exploitation
  • Banking and financial fraud
  • Intellectual property theft

Hackers who wish to harm the United States use complicated cyber attacks, trying to cripple essential services such as power, water and banking systems.

Cyber crimes have global implications because terrorists, transnational organized crime syndicates and even hostile foreign governments know how to attack these essential infrastructures. They can conduct their attacks from any domestic or international location, creating a world of logistical and jurisdictional problems.

Challenges Associated with Addressing Cyber Crime

Advancements in technology play an important role in promoting efficiency in our society. These advances have brought major improvements in the government, medical and business communities.

But security officials worry about cyber attacks because our physical infrastructure operations are becoming more integrated and dependent on information technology. That dependency on technology has created a substantial risk for wide-scale attacks that could adversely affect the U.S. economy and the daily lives of millions of Americans.

Consistent Risk Management Operations Help to Protect Critical Infrastructures

As cyber threats rapidly evolve and change, protecting our critical infrastructures requires consistent risk management operations. To address threats to critical infrastructure, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) coordinates its efforts with sector-specific organizations, federal agencies and private-sector partners to share information and intelligence.

For example, the DHS Cyber Situational Awareness, Incident Response, and Management Center is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It constantly monitors evolving threats to American infrastructures.

The center consists of an Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team. This team works with law enforcement agencies, other intelligence centers and critical infrastructure stakeholders to coordinate efforts and ensure that emergency preparedness is always up to date.

DHS has established a Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community (C³) that helps owners and operators of critical infrastructure organizations to mitigate cybercrime risks.

This voluntary association employs a Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, which consists of standards, guidelines and best practices to manage cybersecurity-related risks. The association helps promote the protection and resilience of critical infrastructures and other sectors important to the economy and national security.

Cyber crime is a significant threat to all critical infrastructures. Businesses associated with critical infrastructures must ensure that anti-virus software and other risk mitigation initiatives prevent them from becoming cyber crime victims. That’s why DHS actively collaborates with other government entities and private industry to minimize cyber threats.

Get started on your cybersecurity degree at American Military University.

About the Author

Dr. Jarrod Sadulski has been with the Coast Guard since 1997. His expertise includes infrastructure security, maritime security, homeland security, contraband interdiction and intelligence gathering. He has also received commendations from the Coast Guard. Currently, Jarrod is a supervisor in the Reserve Program and provides leadership to Reserve members who conduct homeland security, search and rescue, and law enforcement missions.