What is Critical Infrastructure Application Essay

Infrastructure is effectively what makes a nation run. It encompasses the people, places, and things necessary to deliver critical services and goods. The US Department of Homeland Security often abbreviates critical infrastructure as CIKR (Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources) and defines CIKR as consisting of, “the assets of the United States essential to the nation’s security, public health and safety, economic vitality, and way of life,” including “power grids and water filtration plants; national monuments and government facilities; telecommunications and transportation systems; chemical facilities” (“CIKR,” 2009, par.1). Although the majority of CIKR is privately owned, according to DHS, the government still has a vital protective role to ensure it works correctly.


Although the Internet was still in a relatively primitive stage when DHS was first established, the online element of the nation’s critical infrastructure cannot be underestimated and has seismically grown in its importance. People trust a tremendous amount of vital data to make payments and conduct transactions in private enterprise. “We are in an era where there is no such thing as a ‘secure’ password; even the most complex password is still a ‘shared secret’ that the application and the user both need to know” (Chertoff & Grant, 2017, par.1). The government also has entrusted a tremendous amount of vital data itself online and more and more information is stored in the so-called cloud, not even in physical computer hardware. This makes information more accessible, but also easier to log into, steal, and manipulate if hackers have the right tools and knowledge.

Tapping into or disrupting the nation’s cyber infrastructure can bring commerce and government to a standstill, as well as potentially yield a source of revenue to terrorists, hackers, and common criminals in the form of information. When people’s Internet services as disrupted or their identity is impinged upon, this is also tremendously disruptive to their sense of personal security, given the extent to which jobs as well as daily routines are dependent upon the Internet.

Financial Services

Tied into threats to the infrastructure, the relative security of our nation’s financial services is likewise critical. The financial disruption caused in the wake of the 2008 crash had a chilling impact on both investment and employment. Again, technology infrastructure has an impact in terms of governing the evolution of this sector. Automated programmed trading has made financial volatility a daily reality, and “lightning-fast trading models, automated sell orders and an arsenal of sophisticated algorithms” have made crashes and spikes in the market occur, regardless of whether there is concrete and verifiable external economic reason for this (Harwell, 2018, par.2). While the 2008 crash has largely been attributed to a lack of transparency regarding financial instruments and a lack of regulation of the financial and banking industry, automated trading makes it even easier for outside rogue agents to manipulate the markets, as well as firms with experience in using creative financial instruments to make profits at the expense of smaller investors engaged in sensible, long-term investments strategies. “Quite often, physical and cyber protection services are also outsourced, making optimized defense more complicated and creating more opportunities for leaked defense-related knowledge, procedures and data, and contributes to shortages of highly skilled personnel” (Tal, 2018, par.4).


Finally, physical transportation such as roads, bridges, and trains remain critical to safeguard. Although virtually-transmitted information is important, physical goods, including food and fuel, remain vital to the daily workings of the economy. Again, however, it is important to be mindful of the interconnectedness of all aspects of the infrastructure, as an electricity failure due to a technological miscommunication can result in a stalled subway car, or worse, a blackout during rush hour.


Chertoff, M. & Grant, J. (2017). 8 ways governments can improve their cybersecurity. HBR.

Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2017/04/8-ways-governments-can-improve-their- cybersecurity

CIKR. (2009). DHS. Retrieved from: https://www.dhs.gov/blog/2009/11/19/cikr

Harwell, D. (2018). Algorithms just made a couple of crazy trading days that much crazier.

The Washington Post. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the- switch/wp/2018/02/06/algorithms-just-made-a-couple-crazy-trading-days-that-much- crazier/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b4ed836c6e3a

Tal, J. (2018). America’s critical infrastructure: Threats, vulnerabilities and solutions. Bosch.

Retrieved from: https://www.securityinfowatch.com/article/12427447/americas-critical- infrastructure-threats-vulnerabilities-and-solutions


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