Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity – The 16 Critical Sectors


Critical infrastructure cybersecurity is exactly what its name implies. It is the protection of systems and networks, whose operations are vital to the security of the country, it’s economy and its public health and safety, from cyber threats.

In 2018, President Trump signed into law the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2018, and with it established the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to coordinate security and resilience efforts. 

Although there is a centralized coordination of efforts to promote and ensure Cybersecurity of these sectors, it is, by all means, a shared responsibility by Federal, State, local and territorial governments as well as companies and individuals. 


The 16 Critical Sectors

There are 16 sectors classified as critical infrastructure according to the Department of Homeland Security Although these may not seem obvious choices to many of us, these sectors are vital to preserving the American way of life, and need to be protected from Cybersecurity threats such as data breaches, computer viruses and other attack vectors.

  1. Chemical Sector: This sector produces, stores, uses and distributes potentially hazardous chemicals in the U.S. 

  2. Commercial Facilities Sector: This sector includes a diverse range of organizations that draws large crowds of people for shopping, business, entertainment and lodging.

  3. Communications Sector: This sector includes all forms of communication underlying the operations of businesses, organizations and government. 

  4. Critical Manufacturing Sector: This sector includes the manufacturing of metals, machinery, automotive and transportation equipment and electrical equipment.

  5. Dams Sector: This sector comprises dam projects, navigation locks, levees, hurricane barriers, mine tailings impoundments and other similar water control facilities.

  6. Defense Industrial Base Sector: This sector enables research, development, design, production, delivery and maintenance of military weapons systems and components to meet U.S. military requirements.

  7. Emergency Services Sector: This sector provides a wide range of prevention, preparedness, response and recovery services during normal daily operations as well as incident response.

  8. Energy Sector: The U.S. energy infrastructure fuels the economy with a steady energy supply vital for its proper functioning. 

  9. Financial Services Sector: This sector ensures economic vitality of the U.S. and is under constant threat due to the possibility of financial gain.

  10. Food and Agriculture Sector: This sector is mostly privately owned and comprises farms, food processors and storage facilities, restaurants and retailers.


  1. Government Facilities Sector: This sector incorporates a range of buildings either owned or rented by state, local, tribal and neighborhood governments and contain sensitive and valuable data, materials and hardware.

  2. Healthcare and Public Health Sector: Due to the nature of the organizations within this sector, it contains sensitive information, such as Personal Identifiable Information (PPI) that can be used by hackers. 

  3. Information Technology Sector: This sector comprises and range of virtual capacities that create and supply equipment, programming and data innovation to all industries in the economy. Together with the Communications Sector, it provides the Internet. 

  4. Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector: This sector includes the nuclear power reactors that provides electricity to millions of Americans, as well as the medical isotopes used for cancer treatment.

  5. Transportation Systems Sector: Organizations within this sector facilitates the safe movement of goods and people throughout the country.

  6. Water and Wastewater Systems Sector: This sector includes all facilities ensuring the proper treatments of wastewater and the supply of safe and clean drinking water to U.S. citizens.