On A Risk Assessment and Reduction Approach for National Critical Infrastructure

Friday, September 23, 2022
Remotely via WebEx: https://umbc.webex.com/meet/sherman

Not recorded by request of speaker’s sponsor.

(Work by Jason Reinhardt, Merideth Secor, Lindsey Miles, Ron Lafond,
Derek Koolman II, Lauren Wind, Ray Ludwig, Jeff Munns)


The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) leads the national effort to understand, manage, and reduce risk to our cyber and physical infrastructure. CISA must assess risks that cover a broad range of scenarios over a complex set of interdependent critical infrastructure (CI) systems. While many threat and hazard impact models and data sets exist, there is no overarching analytic structure that organizes and integrates these disparate sources into a unified risk assessment. CISA is building capabilities that will address these challenges to support stakeholders across all levels of government and the private sector. First, CISA has developed a National Critical Functions (NCFs) data structure to organize and describe critical infrastructure. This data set provides a set of decompositions structured as directed graphs that break down each identified function into enabling sub-functions that detail the operation and interdependencies across disparate CI systems. The functional description of NCFs serves as a complementary lens to the sector-based organization of CI and better facilitates systemic and cross-sector risk analysis. Additionally, CISA has begun developing the Risk Architecture, a technology-enabled analytic tool that contains a set of standards, scenarios, visualizations, and workflows that leverage the NCF and other integrated CI data sets. This paper describes the need for an integrated approach to CI risk assessment, the NCF decomposition structure, the principles and concepts behind the Risk Architecture, and the approaches to functional interdependency analysis while also providing initial use examples.


Alan T. Sherman, sherman@umbc.edu

Upcoming CDL Meetings:

Oct 21, Peter Peterson, Misconceptions in cybersecurity
Nov 4, Russ Fink (APL), ARMR: autonomous resilience/machine recovery
Nov 18, Josiah Dykstra (DoD), Myths in cybersecurity
Dec 2, Peter Peterson, Adversarial Thinking
January 2-6, 2023 (tentative): SFS/CySP Research Study


Support for this event was provided in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS grant DGE-1753681.

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab meets biweekly Fridays 12-1 pm. All meetings are open to the public.