Rising Cyber Attacks Are Forcing The Oil&Gas Industry To Protect Itself
In recent years the number of targeted cyber-attacks against oil and gas industry (O&G) has risen dramatically. Companies find themselves in the crosshairs of anonymous, hidden criminals, who plan and execute technological assaults. These attacks can cripple companies, interrupt supply, ruin reputations, and cause financial losses. Across the oil and gas industry, protection through cybersecurity has become more and more of a priority over the past decade for the oil and gas industry, to survive these attacks unscathed.
The O&G industry in particular is under constant assault from around the world with cybercriminals ready to deploy malware, phish, and destroy businesses in the hope of a potentially big payday. It is important for IT specialists and teams to be aware of potential attacks at any time, at any point in the production process, and via a number of potential channels.
Our experience and data show we are facing a growing threat towards the Energy sector which affects IT systems but more importantly operation systems. We see with our clients that this side of the business is often neglected.
Top Threats to Oil and Gas Enterprises
Ransomware has the potential to cause massive damage to the targeted victim due to the interconnected nature of corporate computer systems and servers. Ransomware extortion is on the rise with new malware being deployed against industries on a regular basis. Attacks target particular servers or entire networks, leaving enterprises compromised and data at risk. The introduction of this vicious malware into your system is as innocuous as a click on an email link by any member of your organization.
O&G companies are dependent on the functionality of its infrastructure, with any system failure leaving systems in a potentially vulnerable position. Specific malware has been known to be deployed to sabotage and destroy computer servers, which directly control everything from pressure gauges on extraction equipment to factory functions.
Data Theft and Espionage
While all industries are subject to such threats, the payoff for a successful cyberattack on an O&G enterprise is richly rewarding, leading to constant pressure of criminals seeking ways to compromise corporate VPN servers, attack webmail, or establish themselves in networks to gain information.
Consequences too Heavy to Ignore
The consequences of these attacks cannot be overstated. Historically millions of dollars have been lost, operations have been halted, and the environment has been put at risk, leaving the reputations of major corporations — and their leaders — being irrevocably tarnished by an all but invisible enemy.
2018 Malware Attack Holts Production for Two Days
Most recently in 2018, a ransomware attack brought a US natural gas compressor to its knees, causing a two-day shutdown. The attackers had spent time exploring the facilities network to identify their critical assets prior to unleashing their ransomware attack.
The US Department of Homeland Security expressed its concern regarding aging US facilities and their ability to thwart future attacks. Such an event proved to be a warning to the entire O&G community, as the hackers displayed the ability to launch attacks globally from any location with no geographical limitations.
Shamoon Virus Wrecks Havoc on Armco
The more the industry moves to the inevitable digitization and streamlining of production, the more vulnerable it becomes to these rising cyber-attacks. The enormous potential for disaster was witnessed by the industry when the Saudi Oil giant, Armco was attacked with the Shamoon Virus in 2012. The attack triggered the shutdown of 30,000 company computers.
Just as a biological virus is able to morph over time, so too are cyber criminals able to evolve their digital counterparts. Italian O&G giant Saipem were the victims in 2018 of a comeback variant of the Shamoon Virus.
Security First. Security Second and Third
With the continued digitization of the industry, production is increased exponentially to risk. O&G companies must look to experts in cybersecurity and work in partnership with them to protect businesses and their assets.
Protection is not a one-time deployment as evidenced by the one-two attack of the Shamoon virus. Once an entire operation has been analyzed and has measures in place to prevent breaches, those security measures must be constantly tested and updated to ensure readiness to combat any cyberattack.
Find the right consultant
Any enterprise looking to deploy security measures should look to their security provider to deploy comprehensive measures against current threats and those which may evolve. Legacy Technologies is an industry leader in the cybersecurity world, with a wealth of experience fending off and foiling potential acts of cybercrime and cyberterrorism, using their fully automated service, NEO.
Systems such as NEO work as a “white-hat hacker”, which provide 27/4 monitoring of cyber defense systems and expose possible weaknesses and vulnerabilities. This kind of protection put into place can are an ‘insurance policy’ against cyberattacks, while simultaneously anticipating future issues.
Protecting the O&G Industry
The past 10 years have shown multiple examples of aggressive cyber-criminals with the ability to cripple the industry, destroy companies and reputations, and cause loss of capital on a grand scale. Deploying protection which will constantly analyze all your systems, determine vulnerabilities and deliver solutions is no longer optional. As dedicated as the cybercriminals are in their efforts to exploit the O&G industry, so too must industry leaders be dedicated to taking advantage of the solutions and protections available to stop attacks.
Legacy Technologies is a cybersecurity company that provides active and passive defenses to help keep its clients’ information safe and their assets secured.