Oil and Gas Sector Cybersecurity Areas of Vulnerability

Posted on Jan 24, 2017

As we enter 2017, cybersecurity awareness is on the mind of every organization within a myriad of industries and for good reason. With expanding threats and evolving technologies, staying ahead (and aware) of developing situations in the online world is vital for the security and stability of a modern corporation. But some areas of industry have begun to stand out among their peers as being particularly vulnerable, whether that is because of the type of business at hand, or the way the communications in that industry are currently distributed. Bearing both of these things in mind, officials in both the private and public sector have become concerned with one field in particular: worldwide oil and gas vulnerability.

Cybersecurity Awareness | Oil and Gas Sector Vulnerability</

To get a good idea into why this is so, look no further than a recent report issued by the well-respected Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In it, the group highlighted the many things that make the oil and gas sector unique among other comparable industries. There are a wide range of vulnerabilities this sector faces; these can extend from something material, like a processing plant, to something more esoteric, like the long periods of time transactions can go on. Some of the fears based in cybersecurity in the oil and gas arena stem from a much simpler concern. Put bluntly, vulnerabilities, if exposed in these systems, can lead to huge disasters and incredible costs. Oil powers the modern world, and the ability to damage that lifeline is an incredibly powerful weapon.

When studying this issue, the aforementioned Boston Consulting Group, in conjunction with U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), found a few areas of notable vulnerability:

  • Open information flows.
  • The huge amount of remote access in the oil and gas sector (necessary for working with disparate locations around the globe).
  • Boundary protections that go along with remote access.

Securing these platforms would go a long way towards making a more secure sector, but some industry professionals worry that improvements aren't being made fast enough to keep up with an ever-growing IoT (Internet of Things).

In order for cybersecurity awareness to become ingrained at the highest levels in industries like oil and gas, communication platforms will be key. Knowledge is a huge weapon against the proliferation of cyber-attacks, and NC4's Cyber Threat Exchange (CTX) gives the business community the ability to gather experience and share capabilities. For more information, contact NC4 today at 877-624-4999, or e-mail us anytime at info@nc4.com.

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