5 Reasons For The Increase in Cyber Attacks in Oil and Gas

Nowadays, organizations have become more vulnerable to cyberattacks and are taking countermeasures to keep their data safe. Organizations are intensifying their focus on cybersecurity.  Digitization has numerous benefits but with it comes ill effects that increase the risk of cybersecurity attacks. Cyberattacks are a concern for all consumer-oriented businesses and is also a risk for the oil and gas industry.

Most of the cybersecurity issues involve the theft of personal data. Cybersecurity attacks in the oil and gas sector have been on the rise. The attacks arise due to miscellaneous errors, insider misuse, and cyber espionage. The countermeasures used by oil and gas companies result from cybersecurity assessments. Canada has a handful of petroleum retailers who have millions of customers making them a target for cyber attackers. Here are some reasons that put the oil and gas sector vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks.

1. Cybersecurity training

Cybersecurity is a threat that needs attention and management has the responsibility of informing employees through awareness and training. Human error is the greatest threat to vulnerability in the oil and gas sector. 95 percent of cybersecurity attacks result from human error. Human error increases the spread of malicious codes.

Whenever someone opens an attached email, a memory stick gets inserted and laptops get connected to critical networks. Users can be tricked into revealing passwords. It’s due to the lack of training which is a huge challenge faced by oil and industry. Oil and gas organizations are prime targets for cybercriminals.

2. Lack of cybersecurity policies

It takes tremendous effort to have self-explanatory policies for cybersecurity, but the results will be worthwhile.  There are several standards on how to develop cybersecurity policies and management needs to implement the policies. Cybersecurity policies that are not clear can mislead management and employees on how the countermeasures should be implemented. Organizations need extensive security policies and audit them to ensure the policies comply with the system to detect attacks in real-time.

3. Outdated industrial systems

Industrial control systems in oil and gas companies have not been created to protect against cyber threats. The legacy control system is what most oil and gas companies use to protect their industrial control systems. However, the legacy control system is an easy target for cyberattacks.

When an attack such as an advanced persistent threat (APT) is directed towards the industrial control system, it can lead to huge damage. APT is an attack that is stealthy and dangerous and has higher chances of being successful. Industrial control systems need to work on extended life cycles which minimizes any opportunity for upgrades. Thus, it becomes a threat and makes it easy for cyber threats to increase.

4. Not separating industrial and IT networks

Most oil and gas organizations combine their industrial control system with wider networks to help with information exchange. It may be cost-effective but can still create vulnerable links in the system. Any cyber-attack on the system will lead to a complete system shutdown.

5. Lack of enough network security measures

IT protocols in industrial control systems make the system vulnerable to attacks. New technologies like the use of cloud platform can also bring vulnerabilities which need adequate measures. Security measures depend on the industrial control system architecture and type. The company’s security program also affects the security measures to be used.

What companies should do to deal with cybersecurity attacks is to get the services of an IT company like Pure IT. Most of our focus is on cybersecurity, IT services, and cloud technologies. We can help the organization in the Canadian oil and gas sector handle the ongoing cybersecurity threats. You can always rely on Pure IT to optimize your network security. contact us

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