Aging Infrastructure and the Rising Digital Threat

As a prepper and survivalist, there is only so much you can do to protect your homestead and your family. You can ensure you have adequate water, food, and shelter for prolonged disaster crises and responses, but you cannot control the infrastructure of your country. 

There is a significant difference between personal vulnerability and national security. Unfortunately, recent works have revealed the potential weaknesses in the latter. For example, in early May, the Colonial Pipeline hack demonstrated the necessity for an overhaul in U.S. infrastructure.

The Colonial Pipeline is a major gas supplier for the east coast, and the hack presented the threat of gas shortages throughout. While the panic was the primary cause of recent shortages in the southeast, the hack was a dire warning of things to come, and the pipelines are not the only thing at risk. The current electrical grid also runs on outdated machinery, systems, and software.

The Rising Threat

Hacks on corporations are nothing new, and many terrorists and criminal organizations have created effective businesses built on ransomware. However, until recently, it seemed most of these attacks were on independent operators. Still, recently — within the last decade — hackers have been turning their sights on government infrastructure, health, transportation, energy, etc. 

The criminals see these heists or data-naps as good business. Companies cannot afford to leave systems offline, so they are quick to pay. For example, Colonial Pipeline was hacked on a Monday and decided to pay the ransom on the same day.

Unfortunately, while there is no denying Colonial Pipeline made the right decision for the company, the move is only motivation for further and more aggressive attacks on infrastructure. At the same time, independent hacker groups and criminal organizations are currently the aggressors, who are to say when digital warfare will become the newest military tactic.

Government Response

The government is currently debating President Biden’s infrastructure plan, the American Jobs Plan. Initially starting negotiations at $2 trillion, the administration just released the newest offer of $1 trillion. 

The plan is a decisive more forward, but many are concerned it does not do enough to improve digital security. For example, the plan calls for improvements in energy, education, and transportation, but it waivers its stance on enhanced digital security. In addition, the original proposal included a budget for making improvements to cybersecurity, but many experts argued it was not enough to support the implied changes to existing infrastructure.

Without a rigorous and financial commitment to the improvements of tech and security around basic infrastructure, the vulnerabilities will still be present, regardless of the progress. This administration and those that follow need to realize the imminent threat of cyber terrorism and digital warfare. In addition, Congress needs to enact policies to ensure change is financially viable.

Individual Concern

As a citizen, there is little you can do on a national scale other than vote. However, to ensure you are not a victim of the next national crisis, you can do whatever it takes to get off the grid and relieve your dependence on government infrastructure. For example, you can invest in solar power, install water filtration systems, stockpile food, clean water, and ensure you have a supply of gasoline should a shortage occur.

As a prepper and survivalist, you know you cannot 100% rely on the government to protect its citizens, especially when it fails to see the writing on the proverbial wall. Currently, infrastructure is at risk, and it will remain at risk until the Administration and Congress act.