Access Control & Physical Security For Critical Infrastructure

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What is critical infrastructure?

According to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), “Critical infrastructure describes the physical and cyber systems and assets that are so vital to the United States that their incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on our physical or economic security or public health or safety. The Nation's critical infrastructure provides the essential services that underpin American society.”

What does this include?

The following 16 sectors have been identified by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as critical infrastructure because any disruption to their operation would have such a significant impact:
  • Chemical
  • Financial Services
  • Communications
  • Food and agriculture
  • Commercial facilities
  • Government facilities
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Healthcare and public health
  • Dams
  • Information technology
  • Defense industrial base
  • Nuclear reactors, materials, and waste
  • Emergency services
  • Transportation systems
  • Energy
  • Water and wastewater systems

Unmanned Infrastructure

The term unmanned infrastructure refers to the cabinets, enclosures and other unmanned locations that house equipment that controls and connects to critical networks. Our country’s unmanned infrastructure systems include hundreds of thousands of enclosures that hold intelligent devices and network entry points. Most of these are secured with generic physical keys that can easily be copied and by obsolete mechanical locks without any reporting capabilities. This presents a serious threat as we continue to rely more on sophisticated IoT devices at the network edge to control and monitor critical operational technology (OT).

critical infrastructure traffic intersectionBecause the nation’s infrastructure is so important to our daily lives as well as our health and safety, properly securing them is absolutely essential. But it is also complex. Many sectors rely heavily on each other and also have several subsectors, each with their own unique requirements and considerations. Within the transportation systems sector alone, there are seven subsectors: aviation, highway and motor carrier, maritime transportation system, mass transit and passenger rail, pipeline systems, freight rail, and postal and shipping. Each of these subsectors is also complex. For example, the highway and motor carrier subsector includes:

  • Over four million miles of roadway
  • Over 600,000 bridges
  • More than 350 tunnels
  • Vehicles
  • Vehicle and driver licensing systems
  • Traffic management systems
  • Cyber systems used for operational management

While these systems are large and complex, there are many opportunities within each sector to help improve the security and resiliency of our infrastructure. One such opportunity is Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS).

Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS)

traffic cabinet lockThere are hundreds of thousands of ITS cabinets on roadsides and at the corner of virtually every intersection across the U.S. Used to store and protect technology that connects and controls traffic signals, vehicles, and digital road signage, these enclosures are critical for road and highway safety.

Do you know who has access to your ITS cabinets? Do you know if your cabinets are secure right now?

Unsecured ITS cabinets are prone to unauthorized entry, leaving connected intersections vulnerable to attack and enabling access to the entire network of traffic controllers and camera feeds. Most cabinets have also active network connections to state and municipal agencies, putting them at serious risk of cyber-attack.

Even though physical access to traffic infrastructure can have an immediate and widespread impact, the majority of ITS cabinets are secured with a generic physical key that can easily be obtained and copied. This means that hundreds of thousands of key-holders currently have access to part of our country's critical infrastructure that is used to operate and control vehicles and signal systems.

Entry into any traffic cabinet must be authorized, managed and monitored in real-time to protect the safety of our traffic systems. ASSA ABLOY Group brands offer a range of solutions to help you accomplish this:

Medeco 4

Medeco 4Higher security mechanical keys with patented key control that protects against unauthorized duplication.

Medeco XT Traffic Cabinet Lock

traffic cabinet lockA complete electronic locking system providing controlled access, accountability, physical security and system management. The XT System consists of robust locks, electronic "intelligent" keys, and state-of-the-art web-based system software.

Medeco All Weather Padlock

all weather padlockThe All Weather Padlock (AWP Series) offers the highest level of padlock weather and severe service protection available from Medeco. Multiple mechanical and intelligent key technologies are available, as well as different shackle sizes and lengths.

HES 630REL Series Enclosure Locks

enclosure locksRobust access control system solution with real-time integrated lock state monitoring and door position status, available with intelligent key overrides, providing you with greater flexibility and control to track and manage who is accessing your enclosures. 

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