- What you need to know...
- Ageing North Sea platforms are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks.
- Cyber threats could come from the likes of eco-activists, terrorists, even countries trying to disrupt another nation’s supply. Cyber attacks in the oil and gas industry could even lead to countries going to war.
- Increase in automation, analytics and real-time monitoring within the industry all require connection to the internet, all providing more surface areas for attack which must be protected.
- Cyber threats are influencing the ongoing system development, a design process that is time consuming due to how critical it is to get right.
Oil & Gas companies need 'better' rather than 'more' security.
In 2012, Saudi Aramco experienced a major cyberattack which began simply by an employee opening and clicking an infectious link on a phishing email. Files disappeared, phones died and computers shut down. 35,000 computers were partially wiped or destroyed within a few hours. The company, which provides 10% of the world’s oil, was forced to temporarily stop selling due to being unable to process payments, and it was 5 months before the company was back online.
Fortunately the production of oil was not halted in this case, due to its automated pumping system being unaffected by the attack. Since 2012 however, critical network segments in production sites are now increasingly connected to networks, which used to be kept isolated.
Taking this into consideration, cybercriminals targeting oil and gas installations could cause monumental disasters.