Internet security has been a question for as long as the internet has existed. Our nation depends on the internet to protect our most vital and confidential information in order to preserve our way of life, yet recent security breaches, phishing, malware, and other relatively common cybersecurity problems have shown that our critical cyber infrastructure is not as impenetrable as we would like it to be.
Fortunately, techniques developed by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and other organizations have defended our infrastructure from the majority of threats in the past. Because there are still areas in which our infrastructure remains vulnerable, Option 3 Ventures prioritizes investing in companies that are making cutting-edge advancements in our nation’s digital security.
Cybersecurity refers to the actions that individuals, businesses, government agencies, and other organizations take to protect their personal information from a variety of online threats. Malware, phishing, ransomware, social engineering, and other types of cybersecurity threats help hackers gain access to anything from a personal computer to a complex national infrastructure. The hacker can then cause damage by reading personal information and manipulating the device. On a national level, these data leaks, access to infrastructure, and other security breaches can be disastrous. Cybersecurity programs and agencies identify and respond to potential security threats, which helps to protect users and organizations.
What Is Critical Cyber Infrastructure?
The Department of Homeland Security defines critical cyber infrastructure as “the physical and cyber systems and assets that are so vital to the United States that their incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on our physical or economic security or public health or safety.” Both physical and digital infrastructure has a significant impact on how we live our daily lives in the United States.
Critical Physical Infrastructure
Non-cyber elements of critical infrastructure work to protect our nation from physical threats and preserve everyday life in ways that do not directly involve the internet. The Emergency Services Sector prepares for and responds to physical attacks, natural disasters, and other major events that pose a significant threat to all or part of the nation, and the Transportation Systems Sector keeps the nation physically connected by managing roads and other aspects of transportation. The Food and Agriculture Sector handles issues related to the nation’s food supply, and there are several other physical sectors within the critical infrastructure system that keep our nation functioning normally.
Critical Cyber Infrastructure
Protecting cyber infrastructure can be just as important for the modern government as protecting other critical infrastructure sectors. The Information Technology Sector, in particular, encompasses the information technology systems, hardware, and software that are crucial to the success and security of all of the other sectors. This sector stores a variety of types of confidential information that must be kept secure to keep the other sectors working properly and protect national security.
Why Is Protecting Our Critical Cyber Infrastructure Important?
During the 21st century, our nation has become dependent enough on our critical cyber infrastructure that we are now as vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks as we are to physical attacks. The national security information that is stored on government computers could do as much damage as a physical attack if it fell into the wrong hands, such as a terrorist organization, and it could also help such groups plan other types of attacks. Losing connectivity through a nationwide internet outage would also have a severe and immediate impact on both how the country is run and individual everyday life. For these reasons, taking every possible step to protect our digital infrastructure is now as important as other sectors within our critical infrastructure.
Potential Threats to Our Critical Cyber Infrastructure
Even with our nation’s current level of defense against cybersecurity threats, there is evidence that enemies still have the ability to identify and exploit weaknesses, which emphasizes our need to continue developing cutting-edge programs and techniques to increase national security. Recent hacking incidents involving our elections and financial infrastructure reveal that our current cybersecurity protection is far from the ideal level of security, and evidence suggests that the race between nations to develop a COVID-19 vaccine may be leaving the research being done by various biomedical organizations, particularly those in the United States and other Western countries, vulnerable to cyberattacks.
The majority of these weaknesses in our infrastructure were only noticed after the damage had already been done, and preventing future and potentially more severe attacks requires taking steps to identify our own weaknesses before other countries or organizations do and making the necessary changes to prevent cybersecurity threats before they happen.
COVID-19’s Impact on Our Nation’s Cybersecurity
The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a significant spike in online scams, malware, and other cybersecurity issues throughout the country. Biomedical organizations and platforms used for remote working and learning have also become the targets of hacking. These issues show that hackers, especially those who are against our government, will take any opportunity they can find to gain access to both individuals’ personal information and confidential data that could lead to significant national security concerns. For this reason, the challenges of this year make finding new ways to protect our nation’s critical cyber infrastructure more important than ever.
Agencies That Are Working to Protect Our Critical Cyber Infrastructure
Because cybersecurity has become such a large concern for our nation, many agencies and organizations are working to strengthen our critical cyber infrastructure. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is by far the largest and most significant at the national level, and there are many smaller agencies that work to increase cybersecurity in general whose principles can be applied to individual, business, and larger cyber infrastructure. The most important national cyber entities include:
Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is the federal government’s primary organization devoted to improving cybersecurity on a national level and protecting our infrastructure from a wide variety of types of potential cyberattacks and security breaches. The CISA works with several other government agencies to identify potential threats to the country’s infrastructure, particularly those that could have a significant impact on national security or the safety of people throughout the country, and strategically respond to those threats.
The agency also serves as the nation’s first line of defense in developing new techniques that can be used to increase cybersecurity on national, state, and local levels. The CISA’s National Infrastructure Protection Plan outlines sector-specific steps for each element of our nation’s critical infrastructure to take to strengthen their ability to locate and defend against potential cyberattacks.
Information Systems Security Association (ISSA)
The Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) is a global organization that connects leaders within the industry of information systems security. It provides publications, forums, and events that keep information systems security professionals informed about the latest developments and practices within the field to help build stronger organizations that are less vulnerable to potential cyber threats.
Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST)
The Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) is one of the oldest online security organizations. It was created in 1989, shortly after the internet began to be commonly used, as both individual user and network security threats became common problems almost immediately. Because FIRST has had the opportunity to develop alongside the internet as its capabilities and place in everyday life increased over the course of several decades, it is one of today’s cybersecurity organizations with the most solid understanding of how individual computer owners, companies, and government organizations can best protect themselves from cybersecurity threats.
Option 3 Ventures Is Committed to Investing in Companies That Work to Advance Cybersecurity
At Option 3 Ventures, we know that the capabilities of cybersecurity need to increase as the internet grows in order to stay on top of potential threats. That’s why we’re committed to investing in companies that are searching for new and improved strategies for combating cyber infrastructure issues. The internet and its potential weaknesses are too big and too numerous for any company to develop fully-effective cyber strategy techniques on its own, so we make it our goal to support up-and-coming companies and new faces within the cybersecurity industry. In the last five years, we have invested in five promising companies to help increase the number of contributors to our nation’s line of defense against a variety of potential threats.
Improving the security of our nation’s critical cyber infrastructure can be as essential to national security as developing new techniques in other types of defense. Attempts to attack the various government, science, research, and other crucial organizations have increased significantly in recent years as our reliance on the internet has grown, including several that have succeeded.
In order to minimize similar and potentially more devastating attacks in the future, making improvements to current cybersecurity practices must be a priority. If your company is looking to become a forerunner in developing the latest cybersecurity techniques and is searching for investors to make it happen, contact Option 3 Ventures to learn more about the successes of companies we have partnered with in the past and whether working with us is a good fit for you!