Critical Infrastructure: What It Is, and How To Protect It

Critical Infrastructure - What It Is, and How To Protect It | Delta Scientific

Everyone relies on infrastructure every day, but most people don’t think about it unless there is a problem with it. In most cases, damage to infrastructure is minor and unintentional, a consequence of normal wear and tear, and the repair thereof represents an annoying but temporary inconvenience. However, deliberate sabotage to infrastructure, particularly critical infrastructure, could have devastating effects. Fortunately, we at Delta Scientific offer products to enhance critical infrastructure security.

What Is Critical Infrastructure?

Critical infrastructure includes networks, assets, and systems that are considered vital to the day-to-day functioning of society. These primarily include physical systems and assets but, increasingly, virtual assets as well. Similarly, an attack on critical infrastructure could involve a virtual attack or a physical attack against property and personnel. In either case, the results of an attack on critical infrastructure could have debilitating consequences for public health and safety, the economy, or national security.

Altogether, the United States Government identifies 16 sectors of critical infrastructure. Examples of critical infrastructure sectors include the following:

  • Water and wastewater systems, which provide access to clean drinking water
  • Transportation systems, which include highways, bridges, tunnels, railroads, and air travel systems
  • Energy systems, which include power plants operated with coal, wind, solar, and nuclear energy
  • Emergency services, which include firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and other first responders

Why Is Critical Infrastructure Protection Important?

Any deliberate attack or sabotage to a critical infrastructure sector could cause a severe disruption to everyday life as services become unavailable. For example, an attack on the energy sector could cause power outages and spikes in fuel prices, while an attack on the transportation sector could disrupt the supply chain, preventing the public from acquiring basic necessities.

Attacks on critical infrastructure in America are not hypothetical. There have been multiple cyberattacks since the start of the pandemic, such as the May 2021 attack on the Colonial Pipeline using malicious programming. Thus far, the vast majority of these attacks have taken place in the virtual realm because it is easier for those intending to carry out the attacks to find and exploit cyber vulnerabilities.

Nevertheless, the threat of a physical attack against critical infrastructure is very real. In 1994, Timothy McVeigh launched a devastating attack against the government facilities sector when he detonated a truck loaded with explosives parked at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. More recently, radicalized ideologues around the world have carried out ramming attacks in which the vehicle itself is used as a weapon.

What Role Do Delta Scientific Products Have to Play in Critical Infrastructure Security?

Our job is to help identify and eliminate vulnerabilities in the physical security of critical infrastructure. We offer barricades that are demonstrated through crash testing to prevent vehicles from driving into buildings or violating pedestrian areas, even if the vehicles are very large, fully loaded, or traveling at high speeds.

For example, beam barricades prevent suspicious vehicles from entering the premises while allowing authorized personnel through. Bollards protect pedestrian areas while also stopping vehicles from getting too close to buildings, reducing the risk of a bombing or ramming attack. Some of our bollards are customizable so that they blend into your exterior décor.

Physical critical infrastructure security is as vital to protecting national interests as cybersecurity. Each should be a top priority.