As Attacks Rise, Prime Target Remains IT Networks

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Second only to the power and utility sector, the oil and gas industry is experiencing a higher frequency of cyber attacks than any other industry. The vast majority of penetrations are in the information technology (IT) networks that run a company’s daily business.

Timothy Nguyen, the chief information security officer of BHP Billiton’s petroleum division, said there is no question that the industry is facing a “tremendous amount of cybersecurity attacks” these days. He pointed to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers that showed that the number of reported industry cyber attacks in 2013 topped 6,500—an increase of 179% from the previous year.

Similar figures for 2015 are unavailable; however, a survey carried out last November indicates that the rate of attacks remains on an upward trajectory. Commissioned by cybersecurity firm Tripwire, the survey polled IT professionals working in the energy sector across the US.

More than 80% of those working for oil and gas companies said the number of attacks continues to increase year over year. About half said the rate had jumped by 50% to 100% in just the past month alone. Highlighting the sophistication of recent attacks, most of those polled also said that they were “not confident” in their company’s ability to detect all the cyber attacks.

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As Attacks Rise, Prime Target Remains IT Networks

13 February 2016

Volume: 68 | Issue: 3

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