Wednesday, July 21, 2021

My Threatcon Column: FBI's InfraGard Program Celebrates 25 Years Of Protecting America

 My Threatcon column was posted online today at 

You can read the column below: 

This year marks a milestone for the InfraGard program, a critical partnership between the FBI and the private sector.

According to the FBI, the National InfraGard Program began as a pilot project in 1996 when the Cleveland FBI Field Office asked local computer professionals to assist the FBI in determining how to better protect critical information systems in the public and private sectors. From this new partnership, the first InfraGard chapter was formed to address both cyber and physical threats.

When InfraGard went national in 2001, then-FBI Director Louis J. Freeh applauded the success of the program.

“Computer crime is one of the most dynamic problems the FBI faces today,” Freeh said. ‘I am proud of the progress we have made in dealing with this problem by establishing the InfraGard initiative and opening the lines of communication between the public and private sectors and the law enforcement community. I am confident that we will continue to work together to further develop the capabilities to meet the computer crime problem, in all its facets, head on. Our economy and public safety depend on it.”

The InfraGard program connects business owners within critical infrastructure to the FBI and provides education, information sharing, networking, and workshops on emerging technologies and threats. According to, vetted membership includes business executives, entrepreneurs, lawyers, security personnel, military and government officials, IT professionals, academia and state and local law enforcement—all dedicated to contributing industry-specific insight and advancing national security.

The requirements to be an InfraGard member includes being a U.S. citizen, 18 years or older. One must be affiliated with a critical infrastructure sector. Members must consent and pass an FBI security risk assessment and periodic re-certifications. Members must notify the FBI of any pending criminal matters. Members must sign and adhere to a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement and agree to adhere to InfraGard’s Code of Ethics and Information Sharing Policies.

Member Benefits include:

Access to InfraGard’s Secure Web Portal,

FBI accredited website with secure messaging that promotes communication among members.

FBI and DHS threat advisories, intelligence bulletins, analytical reports, and vulnerability assessments in real time.

Access to iGuardian, the FBI’s cyber incident reporting tool designed specifically for the private sector Unique Networking Opportunities.

FBI and other government agency presentations to InfraGard Member Alliance events • Special Interest Groups (SIGs) • Peer-to-peer collaboration across InfraGard’s broad membership.

Information sharing and relationship building with FBI and law enforcement at all levels Training and Education • Information Sharing Initiative (ISI) training program.

FBI and other government security awareness training programs.

Local and online training and event discounts • Free or discounted local seminar.

Today, the InfraGard National Members Alliance (INMA), a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, is comprised of 77 chapters—aligned with local FBI field offices—and more than 75,000 members across the United States.

“As Americans, our lifestyle, economy, and national security are supported by a complex framework of businesses and services,” noted the INMA. “The central role of these critical infrastructures and key resources (CIKR), makes them especially vulnerable as targets for both physical and cyber-attacks. The mission FBI is to protect the American people and uphold the U.S. Constitution. Our vision is to remain ahead of the threat through leadership, agility and integration.

“In an era where threats to our country and risks to private enterprise are escalating and intersecting, building mutual respect and cooperation between the FBI and the private sector has never been more important. The majority of infrastructure in the U.S. is owned and operated by the private sector; therefore, cultivating partnerships and incorporating key industry stakeholders is crucial to support the government in protecting critical infrastructure. InfraGard provides a vehicle for seamless public/private collaboration; expedites the timely exchange of information; and promotes mutual learning opportunities relevant to CIKR defense.”

The INMA said it leverages the expertise of a wide range of private sector partners who own, operate, and hold key positions within approximately 85 percent of the nation’s critical infrastructure. The INMA said its InfraGard’s subject matter experts include business executives, entrepreneurs, lawyers, military and government officials, IT professionals, security personnel, academia, and state and local law enforcement. Each of them is dedicated to contributing industry-specific insight and advancing national security. Through this partnership, the INMA noted, both the FBI and private sector gain an improved understanding of the threatscape and share valuable intelligence.

“We are grateful to our hundreds of volunteers, our thousands of dedicated members and our FBI partners for making InfraGard the valuable organization it is and for being such an incredible asset to America’s national security,” said Maureen O’Connell, the President of the InfraGard National Members Alliance. In

Paul Davis, a longtime contributor to the Journal, writes the IACSP online Threatcon column.

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