Energy Sector Increasingly Vulnerable to Cyber Threats
The aspects of our society that are not under the potential for cyber threat are pretty slim. From entertainment to politics to even private accounts, we all have begun to understand the far-reaching impacts of a connected global society where information vulnerability must always be taken seriously.
Cybersecurity awareness is no longer a theory to be studied, but a process to be implemented among businesses small and large. But one industry has shown itself to be particularly vulnerable as this new world unfolds: the energy sector. With trillions of dollars relying on it, and our entire way of life revolving around the concept of its consistency, energy is a tempting target for those looking to inspire chaos.
Due to the sprawling nature of the United States grid, along with the importance of its energy cargo, future cyber threats are being thought of as a matter of national security. In 2013, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13636: Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity. In 2015, another piece of legislation was passed in the form of the Cybersecurity Act. One of the goals of both of these directives was to foster more cooperation between private interests and government organizations. The hope is that with improved communication, and better sharing of information, safeguards can be enhanced throughout the energy sector.
One particular sector of the energy industry that has been singled out is oil and gas. Some see electricity as being more deeply rooted and interconnected: making it easier to protect and more reliable to bounce back from an attack. Oil and gas, on the other hand, are more fragmented industries. The recent decline in the cost of oil has caused mergers that leave U.S. officials less clear on the security of these firms. An example of this merger-based vulnerability recently occurred in April of 2015, when an Australian firm was robbed of its data during the process of a major acquisition. Due to the shifting nature of responsibility during the merger, the firm failed to notice the breach.
Again, though, government and private partners are trying to take action to prevent similar scenarios in the U.S. energy industry. The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is constantly updated its mandates and recommendations on everything from personnel to IT protection. As cybersecurity awareness grows, the hope is that attacks can be both mitigated and learned from. Communication platforms, such as the NC4 Cyber Threat Exchange (CTX), can provide the energy industry invaluable knowledge as well as access to constantly shifting data. This can leave them better prepared. It's a battle with no end in sight, one where preparation and reaction will be key. For more information e-mail us at info@NC4.com, or continue to browse our site for further details.
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