The Praxis With John Mason, June 7, 2021

The Internet IS Infrastructure

In May, Colonial Pipeline, the supplier of fuel for the East Coast, was hit by a cyberattack of ransomware by a gang in Russia, demanding a payment to reopen the pipeline. (Was the Russian government behind this? I wouldn’t put it past Putin.) Cybersecurity was so weak that a gang of criminals had Colonial shut down its operations for six days. (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/08/us/politics/cyberattack-colonial-pipeline.html)

Early in June, JBS, one of the nation’s largest meat-packing companies, was also hit with ransomware by a criminal gang from Russia. (https://www.reuters.com/world/us/some-us-meat-plants-stop-operating-after-jbs-cyber-attack-2021-06-01/) (https://www.npr.org/2021/06/03/1002849920/meat-packer-jbs-expects-to-operate-at-near-full-capacity-after-ransomware-attack) In both instances, companies producing a vital product were forced to pay off the gang, production was slowed down, and our national security compromised.

President Joe Biden, in his plan to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, would include upgrading our internet capacities, which I believe should include cyber-security, the ability to resist such attacks, and repair any damage they might cause. The Republicans, anxious to stamp out any plans that benefit the people and provide jobs, is bickering about what to include under “infrastructure.”

The internet is as vital to our lives as are railroads, roads, bridges, dams, levies, and electric power stations; without them, we wouldn’t function as a society, and it would be a disaster during a national emergency, say, a war, a pandemic, or a naturalĀ  catastrophe like the outage of the Texas power grid during the snowstorm (https://www.npr.org/2021/06/03/1002849920/meat-packer-jbs-expects-to-operate-at-near-full-capacity-after-ransomware-attack).

Thus I say the internet counts definitely as infrastructure, and we must definitely include it in the Biden infrastructure plan, and upgrade it, including security, so some entity could no longer hold it hostage.