Although cyber security is a widely ignored issue in the oil and gas industry, the potential threat can have deep financial impact and, in many cases, cost lives.
The 2014 Verizon Data Breach report states that 40 percent of the attacks performed in the manufacturing and mining industry are cyber espionage based. A UK survey revealed that 81 percent of large companies were digitally attacked, at an average cost of £1 million per company. Similarly, 62 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were digitally attacked in 2014 at an average cost of more than £100,000 per incident.
Cyber 9/11 will happen, it's just a question of when, and whether we'll be prepared. It's unclear whether anyone can be fully prepared for an attack of that magnitude, but unfortunately the oil and gas industry is behind in even basic prevention and mitigation abilities. Eventually, every company will be the target of an attack, and being prepared could mean the difference between life and death, both for our companies, and our citizens.
As President Obama pointed out, "This problem (cyber attack) is not going to go away. It is going to accelerate. And that means that we have to be as nimble, as aggressive and as well-resourced as those who are trying to break into these systems." Although this chronic diagnosis may be disheartening, our preparedness is our greatest ally in the fight against cyberwarfare.