Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) is the term given to any organisation, products or services which are absolutely vital for the country to function; things that society and the economy cannot do without.
It goes without saying that cyber security is a pretty important issue for these organisations. In the digital era, cyber terrorism is just as much a danger as any other form of terrorism, and the consequences could be equally severe.
Unlike other sectors, CNI will not just be targeted by traditional cyber criminals looking for a quick buck. National infrastructure is also a target for foreign states, hacktivists and cyber terrorists, for whom a successful attack would be a major ideological and/or political victory.
These attacks can be incredibly damaging, and are often used for espionage. They are far more sophisticated than your average cyber attack, and can be used to steal large quantities of incredibly sensitive data, including intellectual property, R&D projects, strategic data or personal employee data. Such attacks often go undetected, however there is technology to help prevent attacks rather than just detect them.