Oil industry on guard against cyber attacks

It seems that the oil and gas industry has become a favorite target of cyber criminals, with the Department of Homeland Security's industrial control systems emergency response team reporting that 53 percent of the more than 200 incidents reported involved energy organizations. 

The rate of the attacks has most companies rushing to address any potential security flaws in their system. However, since many organizations are experiencing similar threats, as many of 25 oil and gas companies have agreed to share resources and information on preventing these attacks. 

As a result, the American Petroleum Institute publicized the creation of a new Oil and Natural Gas Information Sharing and Analysis Center last week. The new initiative will serve as a central data hub that oil and gas organizations will be able to access to learn more about cyberthreats, as well as the automated systems that control pipelines, refineries and other energy infrastructure.

"If everyone's out there doing their own thing, everyone has to learn the same lessons time and time again," Curt Craig, manager of business systems and information security for Hunt Oil, told the Houston Chronicle. "Sharing information and intelligence around cyberthreats is a much more efficient way to improve everyone's maturity and capability, in a shorter period of time."

In his talks with the source, Craig explained that there is much that upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas sectors can learn from each other, as the automated systems of these production stages share some of the same vulnerabilities and concerns. 

At Xbig6, our CTO, Barry Conroe, who has been awarded top secret clearance by the Department of Homeland Security, believes the move could help provide more comprehensive security. "Effective cyber security against today's evolving threats and attack scenarios require tactics that are balanced, outwardly focused and leveraging information with trusted partners," Barry explained. 

For those organizations concerned with the risks posed by cyber attacks, seeking oil and gas strategy consulting can help identify weaknesses and prevent breaches of sensitive information, which could have significant consequences on an organization's resources and reputation.