Recent deliberate disruptions of critical automation systems prove that cyber-attacks have a significant impact on critical infrastructures and services. Disruption of these ICT capabilities may have disastrous consequences for the EU Member States’ governments and social wellbeing. The need to ensure ICT robustness against cyber-attacks is thus a key challenge at national and pan-European level.

Critical infrastructures, such as electricity generation plants, transportation systems, manufacturing facilities are controlled and monitored by Industrial Control Systems (ICS), including SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems. Today ICS products are mostly based on standard embedded systems platforms and they often use commercial off-the-shelf software. This results in the reduction of costs and improved ease of use but at the same time increases the exposure to computer network-based attacks.

Smart Grids will substantially improve control over electricity consumption and distribution to the benefit of consumers, electricity suppliers and grid operators. Nevertheless, improved operations and services will come at the cost of exposing the entire electricity network to new challenges, in particular in the field of security of communication networks and information systems. Vulnerabilities of communication networks and information systems may be exploited for financial or political motivation to shut off power to large areas or directing cyber-attacks against power generation plants.

The maritime sector is critical for the European society. Statistics show the augmenting trend of maritime transport share in the overall goods traffic, which in 2010 reached 52%. This continuous increase in dependency upon the maritime transport underlines its vital importance to our society and economy. As it can be observed in other economic sectors, maritime activity increasingly relies on ICT in order to optimize its operations. ICT is increasingly used to enable essential maritime operations, from navigation to propulsion, from freight management to traffic control communications, etc.

For more information please contact:

resilience [at] enisa [dot] europa [dot] eu

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