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Critical Infrastructure News

The Defense Department said it will need at least $1 billion over the next five years to strengthen its stockpile of critical materials.

The recommendation comes from a report mandated by the White House that looked at supply chain issues at DoD, the Commerce Department, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Energy Department.

The Pentagon concluded that many of its supply chains for rare earth minerals and other strategic resources are at risk.

“These supply chains are at serious risk of disruption and are rife with political intervention and distortionary trade practices,” the authors of the report wrote. “Though the Department of Defense has requirements for strategic and critical materials, the civilian economy would bear the brunt of the harm from a supply disruption event.”

Read more: Federal News Network

On Friday, 7th May, Colonial Pipeline suspended operations after a major ransomware attack on the company’s computer systems. While the major East Coast pipeline has lurched back to life, the attack is yet another stark reminder of not only the increased threat of ransomware attacks, but also the vulnerabilities that riddle critical infrastructure internationally.

Over the last 10 to 15 years, critical infrastructure has become increasingly connected to the internet: highly connected hospitals, water and energy systems powered by intelligent sensors, government operations with deep roots in data and many more. This obviously has its benefits: most importantly the ability to be operated remotely. However, this connectivity also means the systems we rely on for our health, power, and national security are susceptible to cyber threats. And in this regard, the Colonial Pipeline attack should serve as a wake-up call to those out there that yet needed one, as well as a reminder to those of us who were already aware of the threat.

Read more: Information Age

For the second time in 10 days, a giant chunk of the internet briefly broke because of an outage at a company most people have probably never heard of.

The websites for Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and others all went dark on Thursday after an issue at cloud service provider Akamai Technologies.

The situation was nearly identical to another recent outage caused by a similar company called Fastly, which took out major sites including Reddit, CNN, Amazon, and a UK government website.

Although the website outages have mostly been short-lived, they serve as jarring reminders of the internet's fragility. And at a time when concerns are growing about cyber risks to critical physical US infrastructure, the outages may raise alarms about risks to our digital infrastructure, too.

Read more: CNN Business