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Energy industry warns of jump in cyberattacks, severe vulnerabilities

84 % of energy executives expect that cyberattacks will lead to physical damage to energy assets

Energy industry warns of jump in cyberattacks, severe vulnerabilities

According to the Oilprice report, energy industry executives are bracing up for an increase in cyberattacks over the next 2 years, research from DNV among 940 respondents from around the world has revealed.

According to the study, 84 % of executives expect these will lead to physical damage to energy assets, while more than half - 54 % - expect cyberattacks to result in loss of human life.
Some 74 % of the respondents expect environmental damage as a result of a cyberattack.

What’s perhaps even more worrying, however, is that less than a 3rd of respondents in the Norwegian risk management and quality assurance consultancy’s survey believe they know what to do in case their companies become targets of a cyberattack.
DNV’s cybersecurity managing director Trond Solbe, said:
  • Energy companies have been tackling IT security for several decades
  • However, securing operational technology (OT) – the computing and communications systems that manage, monitor and control industrial operations – is a more recent and increasingly urgent challenge for the sector
The last couple of years have seen several high-profile cyberattacks targeting energy infrastructure.
One of the most notorious such attacks was the hacking of the Colonial Pipeline a year ago.

The attack on the piece of infrastructure that carries some 45 % of the gasoline and diesel fuel that the U.S. East Coast consumes put cybersecurity in the spotlight, fueling concern about the state of energy infrastructure.

Renewable energy assets are not immune, either.
Fieldsfisher partner & cybersecurity specialist James Walsh told Oilprice last year:
  • Cyber risks to renewable energy assets are extremely acute
  • Many of these generation facilities will be directly connected to a regional or national grid and most now rely on smart systems, allowing their owners and operators to manage them digitally – all of which creates cyber risk interfaces
DNV’s Solberg also said:
  • Our research finds the energy industry is waking up to the OT security threat, but swifter action must be taken to combat it
  • Less than half (47%) of energy professionals believe their OT security is as robust as their IT security

Author: Irina Slav