Amid unparalleled transformation for the $6 trillion global energy industry, recently Bloomberg hosted its first-ever energy summit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Houston, Texas. As the United States stands on the verge of energy independence, Bloomberg’s Oil & Gas Conference explored the global implications of that transition, as well as the broader themes in the world of natural resources.
A panel discussion on cybersecurity was among the topics covered. Moderated by Houston bureau chief and energy markets editor of Bloomberg News, Richard Stubbe, the session examined security threats to the energy infrastructure in the U.S. from the electrical grid to nuclear stock piles and oil and gas facilities.
Speakers included Sean McGurk, global managing principal for Verizon’s investigative response team. McGurk points to the convergence of information technology and operational technology and the associated risks as an area of growing concern in the energy sector. “In security we look at people, processes and technology, but all too often businesses including energy companies tend to focus on just one of these areas at the expense of the others,” said McGurk. “A lot of time is spent on information technology to protect the business side, but we are seeing that not enough time is being spent on operational technology. In the same manner that front line professionals would not enter a refinery area without safety goggles, steel-toed shoes and a hard hat to protect against a number of life-threatening chemical hazards on a daily basis, energy companies need to understand their vulnerabilities holistically in order to better defend themselves against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.”
According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, twenty percent of network intrusions analyzed from 2012 involved the manufacturing, transportation and utilities industries, with the same percentage affecting information and professional services firms. Of all cyberattacks, 38 percent impacted larger organizations and represented 27 different countries.
For more highlights on cybersecurity from Bloomberg’s Oil & Gas Conference, click here.
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