Cybersecurity Breaches Hit 70% of Fossil Companies in the Last Year
Nearly seven in 10 oil and gas companies have sustained cybersecurity breaches in the last year that compromised confidential information and disrupted operations, according to a survey commissioned by Siemens USA and reported by CEO Judy Marks on The Energy Collective this week.
“The threat against OT [operational technology] is growing,” Marks writes, based on a Ponemon Institute survey of 300 firms, and “more must be done to stop the threat: Only a third of respondents thought OT and information technology networks were fully aligned for cybersecurity. Little more than that—35%—rated their readiness to address cyber-threats as high. It is no surprise that nearly half of all OT attacks are not being detected.”
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While “it’s common practice to think of challenges as opportunities in disguise,” Marks adds, “for the oil and gas industry, opportunities are creating challenges.” Companies have been embracing “digital oil and gas fields” as a way to boost efficiency and uptime, improve safety, and cut costs. But “if cybersecurity isn’t fully aligned with a digital strategy, oil and gas companies are extremely vulnerable to hackers trying to steal valuable information and supplies, disrupt operations, or otherwise inflict harm.”
Marks urges the companies to bulk up their cybersecurity defences and install security analytics to detect data anomalies. But “no matter how secure an enterprise is, hackers will still try to break into it,” she notes, echoing warnings that have been going out to other industries and sectors.
“Successfully merging OT with IT is one priority,” she writes. “But so is having a plan for incident response that goes from the field, to the control room, to the enterprise network.”