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August 27, 2020updated 03 Feb 2022 9:37am

Technology collaborations needed to tackle growing sophistication in oil and gas cyberattacks

By GlobalData Energy

GlobalData’s latest thematic report, ‘Cybersecurity in Oil & Gas (2020)’ emphasises the need for adoption of cybersecurity technologies to tackle the increasing volley of cyberattacks on the oil and gas industry.

The oil and gas industry is expanding the use of digital technologies to optimise daily activities. Widespread deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) is generating huge volumes of data. Each node in a company’s network, whether a computer terminal, a cell phone, sensors, or a networked camera, can become an entry point for hackers.

Today, companies face persistent and sophisticated cyberattacks, sometimes originating from state-sponsored actors seeking an upper hand in the geopolitical landscape. These attacks generally target the servers that hold critical operational data of an oil and gas company. The oil and gas sector has suffered a variety of cyberattacks over the years with varying consequences.

Cyberattacks are constantly evolving in their scale and sophistication. Technology companies have provided cybersecurity solutions such as risk and compliance, identity management, and infrastructure security, to the oil and gas industry. Oil and gas companies are also collaborating among themselves to develop effective best practices to prevent cyberattacks.

Of late, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased cyber risk significantly. Employees working on personal computers and using public networks are especially vulnerable to such types of attacks. During such circumstances, phishing and other potential threats need to be identified and mitigated with a combination of technology and employee awareness.

Some of the leading oil and gas players in the cybersecurity theme are BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Eni, ExxonMobil, Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco. Some of the leading cybersecurity technology providers for oil and gas industry are BlackBerry, Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Fortinet, IBM, Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks, and Verizon.

Figure: Leading companies in cybersecurity theme in oil and gas industry

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