A cyber-threats expert from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) told an audience at the recent American Petroleum Institute Cybersecurity Conference in The Woodlands, Texas, that oil and gas companies are at risk from potential cyberattacks and must do more to protect themselves.
Speaking on 7 November at a conference session on cyberattacks and emerging threats, FBI Computer Scientist James Morrison said that all companies need to be prepared to defend their enterprise and operating systems against such attacks of all kinds. Based in Houston, Morrison is a technical expert on information technology who works on cases that come into the bureau.
“Too many companies are thinking they’re not targeted,” Morrison said. “That is not the reality. Every single one of you will be attacked, if you have not already been attacked, and you’ve got to protect your data. You’ve got to protect the industrial control systems behind that data.”
Attacks on the Rise
During 2016, 75% of oil and gas companies had at least one cyberattack incident, according to Morrison. Attacks are on the rise to the point where “we’re actually getting a little numb about too many attacks,” he said.
More than 200 groups worldwide, including some linked to national governments, are thought to be involved in cyberattacks on US installations. The number appears to be growing, Morrison said, with the rise of criminal activity on the dark web.
“I, as a nation state, don’t even have to develop my own ransomware anymore,” he said. “I can actually hire somebody to develop ransomware and have it brought to me,” which has lowered barriers to entering cyberattack activities.
“And from an oil and gas standpoint, they’re not just targeting you, they’re targeting your subcontractors, and they’re targeting your law firms,” he said. “We’ve seen a number of law firms get hit because of the contract information that they have on you.”
Read the full story here.
Don't miss our latest HSE content, delivered to your inbox twice monthly. Sign up for the HSE Now newsletter. If you are not logged in, you will receive a confirmation email that you will need to click on to confirm you want to receive the newsletter.
19 Jul 2020
- Austin, Texas
This one-day session will include a view of best practices for Carbon Management with a focus on fugitive methane reduction.
14 - 16 Sep 2020
- Muscat, Oman
Shaping the Future of the Energy Industry.
28 Apr 2020
- Brisbane, Australia
This one-day session features view on best practices for Carbon Management with a focus on fugitive methane reduction.
17 - 19 Aug 2020
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Where Energy Professionals Exchange Ideas
2 - 3 Sep 2020
- Beirut, Lebanon
Join peers and colleagues at this premier event
9 Sep 2020
- Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Enter into the World of Tomorrow for Canadian heavy oil
15 - 16 Sep 2020
- Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Expand your technical knowledge and grow your network at this co-located event
HSE Now is a source for news and technical information affecting the health, safety, security, environment, and social responsibility discipline of the upstream oil and gas industry.
©2003-2020 Society of Petroleum Engineers, All Rights Reserved.