Former Homeland Security Department Director Michael Chertoff told oil and gas industry executives that it no longer takes an army to fight a war as the top threat their businesses face in the future is not from physical risks, but cyber attacks. Chertoff's remarks focused on the increasing threat of cybersecurity in general and its potential impact on the critical infrastructure of energy companies specifically.
According to Chertoff, cyber attacks are the biggest threat facing America. Most companies have experienced some type of cyber security event whether they know it or not.
"No industry is immune, but energy companies are clearly in the cross hairs of these cyber criminals as more than 40 percent of all reported malicious cyber attacks in 2012 were directed at them," Chertoff said. "Specific point solutions have been implemented in most cases, but more needs to be done. We must develop a series of corrections to this complex problem across government and industry, taking a holistic approach that addresses policies, regulatory incentives, people, training and technology. Hopefully, it won't take a cyber 9-11 for the industry to realize the magnitude of today's cybersecurity threat."
Chertoff speech took place at the Executive Upstream Innovation and Technology Summit, held in conjunction with the IHS Forum in partnership with Honeywell.
Following Chertoff's opening remarks, the senior executives held private discussions about the challenges of cybersecurity and industry best practices. Topics included cyber attacks, threat actors, attack vectors, insider threats, cyber impersonators, cyber espionage and approaches to improve security.
Darius Adamczyk, president of Honeywell Process Solutions, said that cybersecurity is a critical issue for nations, businesses and individual.
"This executive summit was an important step in furthering the dialogue among decision-makers from the global energy community. Cyber risks are constantly evolving, and we have to work together to find the right combination of solutions," Adamczyk said.
Adamczyk finished by saying Honeywell is at the forefront of developing new technologies and advanced cyber security solutions to help defend against cyber attacks, preserving the availability, integrity and confidentiality of industrial control systems.