Security has become a major concern for infrastructure managers. Infrastructure systems have been targets of terrorist attacks, such as the attack on building facilities using airplanes by agents of Al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001. Numerous other examples exist, such as bombs place in subway systems and railcars. Theft is also a security concern for infrastructure systems.
Responses to improve security have been widespread. Physical barriers have been erected to prevent vehicles or unauthorized individuals to come onto vulnerable infrastructure. Surveillance for suspicious activity has been increased. Communication protocols with law enforcement agencies have been refined.
For an infrastructure manager, the key questions to ask are:
What are the major risks facing my system?
- How can these risks be reduced?
- How much should be invested in security versus other resource needs?
The most frequent security threat is due to computer hacking. It is not uncommon to have numerous hacking attempts on a local network per day. Much of this activity is intended to reveal financial information, but some of it is malicious. As noted earlier, many infrastructure systems rely upon SCADA systems and communications software for operation, so the infrastructure services may be vulnerable to such attacks. Investment in good personnel and software protection is critical for such services.