By changing the way of life in societies around the globe, crisis management practices and coping with challenges have undergone widespread changes and defense priorities have evolved. Over the past few years, perhaps the main concern of some countries has been the production of new killing capabilities, but today, having a vast cyber weapon is on the agenda.
The growth of cyberspace which has had tremendous effects on other infrastructure technologies and equipment is itself a huge development in the world; however, this cyber space at times also caused infrastructure security to be seriously debilitated, and this issue goes so far as some countries decide to take their infrastructure out of cyber domain and place them in an isolated environment.
On the one hand, it should be noted that abandoning cyber space is impossible in some cases in addition to the continued existence and functioning of some infrastructures will depend on presence in this space. This has led decision-makers in other countries to increase their resilience against cyber threats and take serious measures in order to develop that effective immediately.
What is Cyber Resilience?
Cyber resilience can be interpreted in a variety of ways. The infrastructure of the world, especially in Iran, is not out of the two. These infrastructures are either entirely cyber or depend on cyber space. For example, the nation's telecommunications and Internet network is a cyber-security infrastructure, and naturally, cyber-space challenges such as attacks and cyber-distortions will have a huge impact on this space. On the contrary, some infrastructures such as electric grid or gas pipelines are not completely cyber supported infrastructures that require other means for monitor and control of them.
In general, cyber resilience is the continuation of infrastructure flow of execution of function in the event of a cyber-disturbance or attacks through this sphere. Resilient infrastructure is considered to be able to recover not only against cyber-attacks quickly after the assault, but also to compensate the damage caused by the attack.
The question is that what will happen to a country if it does not secure a critical infrastructure against cyberattacks and events. In this regard, we will examine several different events in the world that have occurred due to the lack of resilience of the infrastructure to cyber or cybercrime events.
Ukraine, the first victim of a power outage caused by cyber attack
In late 2015, a widespread cyber-attack on the Ukrainian electric grids caused power outages and widespread disruption to its infrastructure. The attack caused power outages in more than 103 cities and towns in Ukraine. The event accompanied by Russia’s military conflict with Ukraine over the Crimea.
According to statistics released by the official government agencies of Ukraine, this cyberattack caused more than 230 thousand people in the country to experience blackout for a period of between 1 to 6 hours in absolute outage, and all infrastructure facilities in the country would suffer from widespread disruption. Ukrainian experts at that time said that a Russian cyberattack likely would have destroyed 200 megawatts of electricity, which is equivalent to one-fifth of Ukrainian electricity consumption in one night.
This was not the last cyber attack that targeted the Ukrainian electricity infrastructure. Subsequently, in early 2017, the country's infrastructure networks, in particular the power grid were hacked and widespread parts of the country were in a blackout.
The dependence of infrastructure on one another in a country caused cyberattacks to disrupt the Ukrainian electrical grid, military artillery, satellite communication systems (GPS), and transportation meaning that power was not the only victim in this regard.
Cybersecurity experts believe that the dependence of the Ukrainian infrastructure on the production and distribution of electricity to American companies has led the country to fail to work well on increasing its cyber-security infrastructure, which is the main reason for Ukraine's victimization of cyberattacks in a frequent manner.
Moreover, reliance of infrastructure, especially military infrastructure on civilian networks, has led to the invaders exploiting this issue to the point where they can put a deadly blow to the country.
US officials, after the attacks, warned that due to the similarity of Ukrainian infrastructure with their power infrastructure equipment, it is likely that the United States will suffer from these attacks and will suffer damages.
The Associated Press reported a warning from US Congressional lawmakers on the cost of cyber attacks, and cited the White House report, adding that the attacks cost US $57 to $109 billion in 2016.
According to White House Economic Advisers, there is a particular concern about cyberattacking on critical infrastructure in the United States, including highways, power grids, communication systems, dams and food production facilities, since the impact of cyber attacks on these facilities exceeds the impact on targeted victims. According to US officials, if a company has a great infrastructure capital, a cyber-attack could create widespread disruptions to the US economy.
Infrastructure integrity makes Americans more concerned
The White House Economic Advisor's report emphasizes that the energy and financial sectors in the United States depend on both domestic and other sectors and, at the same time, are connected to the Internet; therefore, it is likely that the target of a devastating cyber attack is high. And this would disrupt the entire American economy, as the power outages will be subject to widespread disruption of the entire US financial and banking infrastructure.
Turkey's power outage and damage of at least $1 billion
Ukraine was not the only victim of a hacker attack on a country's electricity grid. Turkey is also one of the countries experiencing blackouts due to the lack of resilience of the electricity infrastructure.