Properties of Critical Infrastructures

  • Wolfgang Kröger
  • Enrico Zio


Physical-engineered critical infrastructures (CIs) are characterized as large scale, spatially distributed, complex networks—either open or closed. According to Dueñas-Osorio and Vemuru (2009), these systems are made of “a large number of interacting components (real or virtual), show emergent properties difficult to anticipate from the knowledge of single components, are characterized by a large degree of adaptability to absorb random disruptions and are highly vulnerable to widespread failure under adverse conditions.” Indeed, small perturbations can trigger cascades and large-scale consequences in CIs; furthermore, disruptions may also be caused by targeted malicious attacks.


Critical Infrastructure Security Criterion Remote Terminal Unit Primary Frequency Control Critical Infrastructure Protection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bouchon S (2006) The vulnerability of interdependent critical infrastructures systems: epistemological and conceptual state-of-the-art (EU report). EU Commission, Joint Research Centre, Ispra, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  2. Dueňas-Osorio L, Vemuru SM (2009) Cascading failures in complex infrastructure systems. Struct Saf 31:157–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. ETH–Laboratory for Safety Analysis (2008) Interdependencies. Report for FOCP, 2009Google Scholar
  4. European Commission (2004) Critical infrastructure protection in the fight against terrorism, COM (2004) 702 final, Brussels, 20 October 2004 Google Scholar
  5. European Commission (2008) Directive on the identification and designation of European critical infrastructure and the assessment of the need to improve their protection. Council of the European Union, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  6. Federal Office of Civil Protection (2008) Schlussbericht horizontale Kritikalität (final report on horizontal criticality), Berne. 10/2008 (for internal use) Google Scholar
  7. Federal Office of Civil Protection (2009) The Federal Council’s basic strategy for critical infrastructure protection, Berne. 5/2009 Google Scholar
  8. Guckenheimer J, Ottino JM (2008) Foundations for complex systems research in the physical sciences and engineering. Report from an NSF Workshop in September 2008Google Scholar
  9. IRGC (2006) Managing and reducing social vulnerabilities from coupled critical infrastructures, White Paper No. 3, International Risk Governance Council, Geneva, p 68Google Scholar
  10. Luiijf E, Nieuwenhuijs A, Klaver M, van Eeten M, Cruz E (2009) Empirical findings on critical infrastructure dependencies in Europe. In: Proceedings of CRITIS 2008, Rome, Italy, 13–15 October 2008, pp 302–310Google Scholar
  11. Pederson P, Dudenhoeffer D, Hartley S, Permann M (2006) Critical infrastructure interdependency modeling: a survey of US and international research. Technical report INL/EXT-06-11464. Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho, USAGoogle Scholar
  12. Rinaldi SM, Peerenboom JP, Kelly TK (2001) Identifying, understanding, and analyzing critical infrastructure interdependencies. IEEE Contr Syst Mag 21(6):11–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Union for the Coordination of Transmission of Electricity (2008) Operational handbook. Accessed 2008
  14. Zimmermann R (2004) Decision-making and the vulnerability of interdependent critical infrastructure. In: Proceedings of the IEEE international conference on systems, man, and cybernetics, the Hague, NetherlandsGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited  2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mechanical and Process Engineering DepartmentETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Ecole Centrale Paris, Laboratoire Génie IndustrielChatenay-Malabry CedexFrance

Personalised recommendations