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Oil and Gas Cyber Attacks Increased in Past Year

Cyber attacks in the oil and gas sector increased over the past year, according to Mike Spear, industrial cyber security global operations director at Honeywell.

“You’re looking at about 365,000 new malware every year … that’s like four per second,” Spear told Rigzone during a briefing at a recent conference in Madrid.

“What we’re seeing is in the space, or in what we call the process industries … the level of the malware, the more sophistication that’s coming up,” he added.

“Some of it now is being very targeted, which is kind of different than it was say five years ago. Everybody was focused on the financial systems, the Walmarts … that type of chain, now we’re seeing a significant increase targeting the critical infrastructure of the process industries,” Spear continued.

Oil and gas cyber security is lagging behind cyber security in other sectors, according to Mark Littlejohn, Honeywell’s global leader in cyber security managed services, who spoke to Rigzone during the same conference in a one-on-one interview.

“Financial of course is doing much better … and then hospitals I think are doing a pretty good job. They still have a bit to go, but they’re still way ahead,” Littlejohn said, providing examples of fields the oil and gas sector was trailing behind in terms of cyber security.

When asked if the oil and gas industry could learn from these sectors, the Honeywell representative said, “absolutely”.

Earlier this week the US Department of Energy announced awards of up to $28 million to support the research, development and demonstration of next-generation tools and technologies to improve the cybersecurity and resilience of the nation’s critical energy infrastructure, including the electric grid and oil and natural gas infrastructure.

Funding is being provided by the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response’s Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems Division.


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