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Critical infrastructure Protection Initiative Seeks to Raise Awareness, Prevent Attack

InfraGard of the National Capital Region (InfraGardNCR), a partnership between the FBI and the private sector to protect critical infrastructure, has launched a comprehensive effort to recognize and support the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Protection & Programs Directorate’s Office of Infrastructure Protection mission to raise awareness around critical infrastructure protection during November.

InfraGardNCR unveiled the National Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience Month (NCISRM) website and its numerous social media interaction points and announced an owner/operator driven event to focus on CI supply chain partners.

"Well after the events of September 11, we are still working to understand and mitigate the complex challenges posed by our converged cyber and physical environments. NCISRM is an opportunity for both the owners and operators of our critical infrastructure, and our government counterparts engaged in all 16 critical infrastructures to highlight and reinforce their work, understand in-depth the pressing threats and vulnerabilities, and work on ways to mitigate their effects,” said said Kristina Tanasichuk, president of InfraGardNCR and CEO of the Government Technology & Services Coalition.

DHS’s Office of Infrastructure Protection is partnering with InfraGardNCR to promote Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month. InfraGardNCR has been working since January 2016 with numerous stakeholders and national non-profit organizations that are aligned with the 16 critical infrastructure sectors to work together in November to raise awareness and take tangible steps to improve the security posture around our critical infrastructure.

In addition to campaigns to raise awareness, InfraGardNCR said it will “bring key stakeholders together to explore physical and cyber vulnerabilities to the US electric grid. The discussions will focus on the threats to the grid and include briefings from both the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in addition to a targeted campaign for owners and operators to invite their vendors and others who ‘should’ know more about CI in order to make their supply chain stronger and educate those who may not focus on critical infrastructure security on a daily basis will be a key part of the awareness effort.”

"Critical infrastructure organizations need to be concerned about the physical security as well as the cybersecurity of their small business suppliers,” said Bill Fanelli, CISSP, Chief Security Officer, Council of Better Business Bureaus Inc. (BBB). “Those small businesses in the supply chain need to be concerned about their security primarily for the common good, but also to differentiate themselves to their critical infrastructure customers. The BBB is engaging with NCISRM to raise awareness of sector interdependencies and to provide training for small businesses across North America based on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. Owners and operators of critical infrastructure, non-profit organizations that represent critical infrastructure sectors, colleges and universities, and private companies are all invited to partner during November to raise awareness and educate their constituents.

The NCISRM website, which will provide tools, resources and tips throughout November, is available at www.NCISRM.org.

This year’s NCISRM event, "Attacking the Grid: Left and Right of Boom," focuses on three things: the most recent, accurate threat assessments from the FBI and ODNI; an in-depth look at the December 2015 cyberattack on the electric grid in Ukraine and an analysis of the implications of a similar attack in the United States; and scenario-based facilitated breakout sessions with stakeholders across critical infrastructure sectors to discuss best practices and tangible tools for preventing, detecting, responding, and recovering from a large power outage.

More information on all of these activities can be found at: www.NCISRM.org.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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