Critical infrastructures (CI) are organizational and physical structures and facilities of such vital importance to a nation's society and economy that their failure or degradation would result in sustained supply shortages, significant disruption of public safety and security, or other dramatic consequences.
On the move towards the information age, the increasing use of information and communication technology (ICT) is inevitably creating new areas of vulnerability and dependencies. If government, economy and society continue to put themselves in a position of dependency on IT in their daily work, their ability to act will increasingly depend on the reliable and secure functioning of the underlying information and communication technology. If this is not guaranteed for the critical infrastructures, the implications for state and society can become imponderable. In view of these threats and vulnerabilities, critical infrastructure protection (CIP) is a challenge requiring joint efforts from government and economy.
Within the area of critical infrastructure protection, the BSI focuses particularly on IT threats, that is on critical information infrastructure protection (CIIP). The BSI applies the term "information infrastructure" both to the ICT sector per se (the large IT and telecommunications networks including their components and operators) and to the ICT-based infrastructures of other sectors.
Detailed information about the protection of critical infrastructures in Germany can be found on a website about CIP. This website is maintained in cooperation by the BBK and the BSI .