Cyber threat on critical infrastructure

A growing concern for decision makers

Authored by: Omar Kammouh , Gian Paolo Cimellaro

Routledge Handbook of Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138306875
eBook ISBN: 9781315142074
Adobe ISBN:


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Cyber-security is of paramount importance: there is an industry built around it, with people spending their lives securing systems, and other people spending theirs trying to get into those very same systems. It is a never-ending process that requires both parties to always think ahead of the opponent and, as time passes, the stakes get higher and higher. Cyber-attacks have been like “kill switches” – partially or completely hindering its function and sending people into chaos and pose risks. This chapter highlights the ever-growing importance of cyber-security due to the ubiquity of Internet-connected devices. It discusses cyber threats and risks of typical critical networks, focusing on the concept of cyber resilience. Special attention has been given to critical infrastructure, such as power networks and nuclear plants. Several methods to mitigate or prevent the consequences of cyberattacks have been introduced (i.e. OODA loop). As a case study, the famous 2015 Ukraine power grid cyber-attack was considered, which shows how attacks are actually planned many months in advance, making it hard – if not impossible – to contain damage.

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