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Press Release -- July 9th, 2013
Source: Verizon

Securing the Digital Oil Patch

IT Security Considered Top Concern for Industry


From offshore drilling rigs to shale oil platforms to refineries, the oil and gas industry has become increasingly digital.

Older analog systems – like simple pressure gauges and flow meters – have been replaced with new digital sensors at the well-head and other operations points with high-speed communications networks moving massive amounts of data in real-time back to headquarters.

Recent reports indicate the risk of cyberattacks is increasing within the industry with growing concerns about malware and other threats.

In fact, cyberattacks and other IT security issues have become a top industry concern for the first time in the history of Ernst & Young’s recurring survey of energy executives, ranking No. 9 on the list of most important industry concerns of 2013. IT security — particularly the threat to companies’ operations and energy infrastructure — was a new entrant this year in the list of Top 10 risks to the oil and gas industry, according to the Ernst & Young “Business Pulse” Oil and Gas’ study released on May 28.

Earlier this year, Verizon released the Verizon 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report on trends for the security landscape across markets and industries. External attacks remained largely responsible for data breaches overall, with 92 percent of them attributable to outsiders and 14 percent committed by insiders, according to the Verizon report. In addition, the 2013 data breach report found cyberspionage was 20 percent of the 47,000 incidents included in the study.

Verizon works closely with its customers to develop strategies to protect physical assets and data and recommends that organizations should operate under the assumption they will suffer a security breach and take steps to prevent it.

Michael Brander, vice president for Verizon Enterprise Solutions’ energy and utilities practice, said: “Breaches can happen at any time, to virtually any organization. We have tools to combat today’s cybercriminal, but you need to understand your adversary and select the right tool to use in the right way. With the proper safeguards in place, many breaches can be stopped before any damage is done.”

For ongoing security insight and analysis from some of the world’s most distinguished security researchers, read the Verizon Security Blog at

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