With the digitisation of control systems and industrial automation, Oil and Gas Industry becomes more susceptible to cyber-attacks. This article explores top cybersecurity vulnerabilities in Oil and Gas and Isecurdata’s irrefutable mitigation strategies.
A survey conducted by Ponemon Institute revealed that 68% of oil and gas companies experienced at least one cyber compromise while 46% of all cyberattacks in the OT environment go undetected. This article explores top cybersecurity vulnerabilities in Oil and Gas Industry.
The above findings necessitate adequate investment in security strategies and holistic cybersecurity programs in the oil and gas industry. In oil and gas, the increasing dependence on technology and internet-based communication has opened for cybersecurity threats.
The Cons of Digitisation in Oil and Gas
Industrial automation and control systems used in the oil and gas industry are largely digitised and depends on digital technology. In the past, process equipment and control systems used to be isolated but are now based on internet technology which enables intercommunication between the two.
Furthermore, the adoption of remote maintenance is on the rise in oil and gas, this technique is used to perform maintenance from an offshore location or a neighbouring platform which can result in the use of a shared computer network. This indicates that production equipment is exposed to network-related vulnerabilities and threats.
Equally, digitisation in the oil and gas sector comes with loads of benefits ranging from seamless operational processes to fast productivity delivery but with the integration of the computer network and internet, oil and gas become highly susceptible to cyber threats and attacks.
Cybersecurity Challenges in Oil and Gas
Ponemon Institute surveyed more than 370 United States Oil and Gas Security Professionals, their findings identified the following challenges to cybersecurity readiness in the industry:
- OT (Operational Technology) is at higher risk than IT (Information Technology)
- Cyber risks, specifically facing the supply chain, are tough to address
- Many oil and gas companies are not readily prepared for cyber attacks and security breaches
- Challenges faced by organizations impact cybersecurity readiness
- Negligence and insider threats pose the most serious threat to critical operational technology.
These cybersecurity challenges have made the oil and gas sector vulnerable and susceptible to cyber-attacks or security breaches.
Top Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in Oil and Gas
- Lack of strategic cybersecurity awareness training and education for employees
- The use of standard IT products with known vulnerabilities in the production environment.
- Little or no cybersecurity culture among their-parties such as vendors, suppliers and contractors
- Insufficient Segmentation of Data Networks
- The use of unpatched and outdated software
- Outdated and ageing control systems in Oil and Gas facilities
- Inadequate physical security of server room, data room, cabinet etc.
- Use of unmonitored mobile devices or smartphones within and around the facility premises
- Inadequate separation of IT and Industrial Networks
- Inadequate security for remote work operations and maintenance
Isecurdata with over thirty years of IT Security experience and standardized cybersecurity specialists can help you to reduce these vulnerabilities and mitigate the risks to your oil and gas business with intelligent training for your staff and ongoing support to ensure cybersecurity resilience.