How Safe Is The Infrastructure We Consider Critical?
The critical networks keep America’s lights on, our communications humming, and the banks open for business are insecure, and we’ve known it for a long time. From the Stuxnet virus to Russia’s cyberattack on Ukraine’s electric grid last year, hackers have shown they can physically disable the systems that control power, pipelines, railway switches, financial networks, and much else. Good work on cybersecurity is being done, but most of it involves tactical fixes to immediate problems in a never-ending round of Whac-A-Mole. For a nation that’s more dependent than any other on electronic connectivity, this is a losing game.
To break this cycle of futility, MIT’s Internet Policy and Research Initiative and Center for International Studies spent two years with leading industry, academic, and government experts to identify deep weaknesses in critical systems, in how those systems are operated, and in the devices that connect to them. Our report, published today, breaks new ground and charts the pathway to a higher level of security for the nation’s critical systems, 85% percent of which are privately owned.