Sustainable Cybersecurity? Rethinking Approaches to Protecting Energy Infrastructure in the European High North
In this paper, the authors argue for rethinking the existing cybersecurity governance structures and propose an approach that connects cybersecurity and environmental governance. Rapidly increasing digitization has positively contributed to economic and social development and helped increasing environmental protection. However, it also made socio-technical systems, energy systems, for example, and ecosystems more vulnerable to cyber-threats. Certain conditions such as remoteness, seasonal darkness, and severe climate that is becoming less predictable due to global climate change – the kind of conditions present in the Arctic European High North (EHN) – amplify the impacts of a potential cyber-attack. Although these exceptionally critical infrastructure conditions (ECIC), pose inordinate and immense governance challenges, the existing national and international legal frameworks treat them in a fragmented manner. The authors draw upon environmental law principles and outline the contours of a coherent and cohesive risk-based, pluralistic, and polycentric legal framework that they see as a critical part of the new ECIC governance regime.
This paper is a deliverable of the ECoHuCy Research Project supported by NordForsk – organization under the Nordic Council of Ministers. ISDP is one of four other Project Partners behind this consortium grant. Led by Sandra Cassotta, ISDP is administering “Working Package Four” on Climate Change, Environmental Threats and Cybersecurity.