The North Dakota InfraGard hosted its quarterly meeting Wednesday at the Dakota Carrier Network building.

The FBI created the original InfraGard program in 1997 to safeguard valuable assets for businesses and the government.

Its North Dakota branch has been a major player in protecting the infrastructure in out state for years, and host quarterly meetings to update organization members and the public of the latest information, focuses and setbacks.

Many recent events, including hackers from other countries attempting to attack U.S. assets, have led to a raised concern for our safety — and with North Dakota being a surprisingly large target, it’s good that our security is constantly up-to-date.

“When we talk about critical infrastructure,” explained Nagel, “and the need to protect it via InfraGuard and the information sharing that occurs, you have to think about the critical infrastructures. There’s 16 in the entire United States. In North Dakota, we have 15 of them. The only one we don’t have is a nuclear reactor. So it is vitally critical that we protect those industries here. We’re a target every day in North Dakota.”

These 16 infrastructures Nagel speaks of include financial services, public health, agriculture, commercial facilities and water systems.

Despite the threat, according to the meeting statistics, North Dakota has actually seen tremendous success in remaining safe and secure: major hacks have been nearly nonexistent since the last meeting.

InfraGard also accepts help from private citizens and members. Those who have passed the application process include business executives, IT professionals, law enforcement and lawyers.

Its quarterly meetings are open to the public and can be accessed via Zoom.

More information about InfraGard, its mission and applications are available at the North Dakota branch’s website.