Safeguarding the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure
By Airman 1st Class Lazarus J. Flores, 436th Communication Squadron
/ Published October 23, 2018
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Imagine for a moment waking up in sweat; your air conditioning is off, no lights in your house work, your food in the fridge is spoiling by the minute and your phone that was supposed to be charging overnight is out of power.
The digital age has brought a surplus of opportunities for our adversaries to disrupt our daily routines. A dedicated adversary state can achieve this directly or by sponsoring terrorist groups to do their work. Our nation's infrastructure is the backbone of our daily lives. We depend on electricity to keep life support running in hospitals, we rely on water to get our kids ready in the morning for school, and we expect that dialing 9-1-1 on our phones will bring the emergency responders to our door. Knowing all this, it only makes sense for our adversaries to focus on disrupting those services.
It is critical we all do our part in keeping these services up and running by any means we can.
A prime example of this is the attacks on Ukraine's power systems. On December 17, 2015, Ukraine's power system was shut off, plunging more than 230,000 people into cold darkness. These outages lasted for many hours over several days. Leading up to the outage, enemies of Ukraine spent months infiltrating and learning how best to attack. The attacks originated with simple phishing emails sent to unsuspecting workers with access to the power systems. If these workers practiced safe cyber habits, they could have prevented this attack. It cannot be understated how important it is to practice good cyber hygiene.
Next time you're in the break room, take a minute to read over that poster on the wall with simple cyber hygiene tips that could save everyone's tomorrow.