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The main security threats for the oil and gas industry

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17 January 2017

Global Services

Blogs by author:  Global Services , We’re a leading global business communications provider

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Advances in technology mean positive transformation for the oil and gas industry, but the benefits will only be felt if these threats are addressed…

In our previous blog on this topic, we talked about how technology such as IP-enabled equipment, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data are helping to transform the oil and gas industry, offering it better efficiency, visibility and reliability.

But, as we mentioned before, there is a catch — the risk of cyber attack.

In this blog, we’ll look at the cyber threat in more detail, as well as taking note of the other technologically–induced dangers facing the industry.

Digging deeper into the threats.

It’s a catch-22; the more digitised the industry becomes, the more risk posed by cyber attack. On top of that, the very nature of the industry leaves it vulnerable.

One major problem is the transaction lifecycle in the oil and gas industry, where sensitive information such as well sites and end-user consumption can all be available in one transaction. This leaves multiple opportunities for hackers as there are a number of points for attack.

This threat is exacerbated by the fact that the oil and gas industry is an appealing target for hackers. On the global stage, a cyber attack on oil and gas infrastructure can cause huge disruption — a tempting proposition for nation states looking to cause trouble. And activists, including environmental groups, look to do the same.

Defending against DDoS.

Much of this threat comes in the form of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). Arbor Networks predicts that the average size of DDoS attacks will soon be large enough to take most organisations completely offline. And, even though the physical effect of a DDoS attack on a refinery, for example, would be short term, the cost-advantage your downtime would give to your competitors may take much longer to recover from.

Not all doom and gloom.

Despite these cyber dangers, there is, of course, huge opportunity for oil and gas to make the most of technology.

What we’ve talked about here is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the cyber threat against the oil and gas industry. For more insight, make sure to read our full white paper.