Government Agencies To Monitor Offshore Marine, Energy Sector Cyberthreats
Cybersecurity is attaining the same level of importance that health, safety, and environment issues have in oil and gas over the past 20 years. Over the past 18 months, the US federal government also has undertaken a series of actions regarding cybersecurity issues in the oil and gas sector, said Glenn Legge, a partner at Legge, Farrow, Kimmitt, McGrath & Brown.
Through different agencies and the executive branch, the federal government has sought to encourage the private sector to create a more robust cybersecurity network. Late last year, the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Coast Guard announced that they would develop cybersecurity regulations for the marine and offshore energy sectors. These regulations would address concerns over cyberrisks and vulnerabilities among vessels and facilities subject to the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.
The regulations will create standards and minimum requirements for companies working in the marine and offshore energy industries. Legge said his firm anticipates that some of the proposed regulatory requirements will be drawn from industry cybersecurity standards, as well as recommendations created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a nonregulatory branch of the US Department of Commerce.
Prior to this order, most of the existing regulations have been focused on data breach events, such as the theft of credit card and Social Security numbers, instead of a cyberattack on offshore infrastructure.
“Unlike exercising oversight over other marine and offshore energy activities, regulating cybersecurity will be very challenging, as industry standards in this area are continually evolving at a rapid rate in response to ever-changing cyberthreats,” according to the law firm’s February 2015 newsletter. “The new regulatory framework will have to have some degree of adaptability to oversee cybersecurity in an evolving threat environment.”