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Structural Integrity

Structural Integrity

When you think of infrastructure your mind probably wanders to buildings, public transportation, the interstate system, or possibly the pothole on the street outside your house the city refuses to fill that could house a small family now.

However, infrastructure is a word that’s been popping up regularly in my stories lately, especially in cybersecurity. I’d like to say its for a good reason, but the truth is that our cybersecurity infrastructure is incredibly vulnerable. In the past week alone, we’ve had major US airlines websites hacked and a major US healthcare provider (CommonSpirit Health) compromised. The airport business was resolved swiftly and with no incident thankfully, a low-level nuisance hack at best. The healthcare provider hack was slightly more concerning. Several news outlets reported ambulances being re-directed to other hospitals, and staff struggling with paper patient sheets in lieu of access to databases. The amount of potential monetary damage in that scenario pales in comparison to possible human costs.

Infrastructure security is something we’re about ten years too late to start getting wise about, and the potential for calamity is evident. The Internet is a wonder as modern conveniences go. We couldn’t live without it now, but we’ve traded our immediate security for that gift. I saw that California is looking to make digital license plates legal. I immediately told my friend that the day I get digital plates is the last day I’ll pay for tags, there’ll be an app for that. Or heck, what if your digital license plate breaks or malfunctions? I once drove home from college at 2:00 am with a broken headlight and unfortunately made the acquaintance of every law enforcement member in the state, so I imagine it would be the same experience.

Every single connected system is a vulnerability. If a robber wants your physical valuables, they must come to you to take them, risking their own apprehension and harm. A state sponsored hacker however can reach out and touch you from the other side of the planet and do harm with few repercussions. What supposedly secure system could possibly be affected next? How secure are the power grids? How much damage could you do by shutting of the gas in the winter? Banks in a near recession? Adequate cybersecurity isn’t a luxury in the modern world, it’s a necessity.

So, the next time you hear the word infrastructure, associate that with security. Vulnerable infrastructure is a big pothole to fill.



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