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Vital infrastructure: emergency services

Organizations in the emergency services sector are there for the public to provide help when situations get out of hand or are too much to handle. This can be because the problem requires special tools and skills to use them, and the organizations are set up to provide assistance at short notice. We are all familiar with the three main types of organizations that fall in this category: Police … [Read more...]

Vital infrastructure: Threats target financial institutions, fintech, and cryptocurrencies

With news of a malware attack on accounting firm Wolters Kluwer causing a “quiet panic” in the accounting world this week, our assertion that financial institutions—from banks to brokers—are part of the vital infrastructure of society has been solidified. According to its website, Wolters Kluwer provides software and services to all of the top 100 accounting firms in the United … [Read more...]

Compromising vital infrastructure: communication

Have you ever been witness to a Wi-Fi failure in a household with school-aged children? If so, I don’t have to convince you that communication qualifies as vital infrastructure. For the doubters: when you see people risking their lives in traffic just to check their phone, you’ll understand why most adults consider instant communication to be vital as well. Forms of communication Humanity … [Read more...]

Compromising vital infrastructure: transport and logistics

Back when I was a dispatcher for a courier and trucking company, we used to joke that it only took a few strategically-placed accidents to cause a traffic jam that could completely stop circulation around the city of Rotterdam. Rotterdam is one of the major ports in the world and consequently, there is a lot of traffic coming in and out. The roads around the city can handle normal traffic, but … [Read more...]

Compromising vital infrastructure: how voting machines and elections are vulnerable

In our first post in a series about vital infrastructure, we aim to explore how secure our voting machines—and our votes in general—are ahead of the upcoming midterm elections. Here, we ask ourselves: How can our infrastructure be compromised? What are the consequences, and how can we prevent attacks or limit the damage? The outcome of elections has an enormous impact on the political and cultural … [Read more...]