If the government cannot have a stable and trustworthy digital infrastructure, communities cannot survive, and economies will not thrive.

FREMONT, CA: On the setting of escalating geopolitical and geo-economic conflicts, one of the most significant challenges confronting nations today is a state-sponsored cyberwar. From political aggression to the suspected attempted hacking of confidential COVID-19 vaccine research to power-supplying cuts for nearly a quarter-million people, state-sponsored cyber threats are infiltrating countries' vital infrastructure around the world.

Today, along with state actors, non-state actors have more technological prowess, incentive, and financial capacity than ever before to engage in destructive attacks on the vital infrastructure of a nation. Any assault on essential infrastructure in one sector of a nation can also cause damage in other sectors. An assault on telecommunications in a region, for example, may interrupt electronic payments.

However, for every new gadget, company, and consumer that links to the internet, the possibility of cyber-attacks is growing. If the government cannot have a stable and trustworthy digital infrastructure, communities cannot survive, and economies will not thrive. As a result, over 100 countries have adopted national cybersecurity defense policies to counter the cybersecurity threats that people, companies, and critical infrastructure pose.

Primary elements of a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy include:

Dedicated National Cybersecurity Agency

Top states assign a single entity—usually referred to as the National Cybersecurity Agency (NCA)—overarching duty to identify and direct the country's cybersecurity policy as a whole. This includes establishing a comprehensive national cybersecurity policy with a portfolio of programs, including the defense of the country's vital infrastructure, mobilizing a response to cyberattacks, identifying cybersecurity requirements, improving citizens' cyber literacy, and developing competent cybersecurity capability.

National Critical Infrastructure Protection program

If the NCA concentrates solely on one area of cybersecurity, it could secure the country's vital infrastructure. Critical infrastructure is generally the most desirable option for aggressive state actors. Disruption of robust infrastructure will impact the economy, market trust, culture, and even national security as a whole. Sensitive infrastructure usually consists of information technology and operational technology, making it more complex and challenging to secure.