• 2 days Court rules DOE to implement Obama efficiency rules
  • 5 hours DOA to invest $6.5M in coal industry
  • 5 hours US to hold largest oil and gas lease sale in its history
  • 1 day Tillerson Seeks A Deal With Erdogan On Syria
  • 1 day White House considering steel and aluminum tariffs
  • 2 days Iraq Seeks $100 Bln to Rebuild Economy
  • 2 days Allegedly the Search For Aliens is Struggling Thanks to Cryptocurrency Mania
  • 4 hours New Rules to Phase Out Coal and Reduce Natural Gas in Canada
  • 2 days Amazon reaches $1.2 million settlement with EPA over illegal pesticide sales
  • 5 hours White House Not Even Close to Regulating Bitcoin Yet
  • 1 day U.S. Bancorp hit with $613M in penalties
  • 5 hours Experts said US losing ground to China on AI
  • 2 days Australia's solar power boom to double in a year
  • 2 days US intelligence warn against Chinese phones
  • 2 days Electric Buses to Reach Half of World Fleet by 2025
  • 2 days How Good Is Putin's Word?
Alt Text

Venezuela’s PDVSA Faces Mass Exodus Of Workforce

PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company…

Alt Text

Dollar Remains Strong In Spite Of Petro-Yuan Threat

As China’s much-delayed oil futures…

Alt Text

Shale Industry May Finally See Some Profits

Profits have eluded U.S. shale…

Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer and political analyst based in Michigan. His work on matters related to the geopolitical aspects of the global energy sector,…

More Info

Cyberattack on Energy Sector would be 'Devastating'

Cyberattack on Energy Sector would be 'Devastating'

An annual index from IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center said acts of violence committed by non-state actors since 2009 increased by more than 150 percent. But for Internet security company Kaspersky Lab, it may be a state actor that launches the next major attack against the energy sector and it may be from a computer.

Matthew Henman, manager of JTIC, said the Middle East was the "epicenter" of violence last year, though it spilled out of the region to endanger parts of Africa and South Asia.

"In 2009, a worldwide total of 7,217 attacks were recorded from open sources," he said. "In 2013, that number increased by more than 150 percent to 18,524."

Related Article: How Prepared is the Oil Industry for a Cyber War?

But according to U.S. President Barack Obama, it's cybersecurity that's emerging as the next great threat to national security.

"Cyberthreats pose one the gravest national security dangers that the United States faces," he said.

Last week, Kaspersky Lab said it uncovered a threat it called The Mask, describing it as one of the most advanced cyberespionage operations it's ever seen.

It warned the threat actor was likely from a Spanish-speaking part of the work and its target is usually oil and natural gas companies, or other high-profile victims.

"Several reasons make us believe this could be a nation-state sponsored campaign," warned Costin Raiu, director of global research for Kaspersky Lab.

Two years ago, the internet security company uncovered the Flame malware, which essentially rendered computers used in the Iranian energy sector useless. When it was discovered, Kaspersky said that was "the largest cyberweapon discovered to date."

But now there's The Mask. Flame forced Iran to disconnect its services from the main oil terminal on Kharg Island as a security precaution, but the government had its servers back up and running relatively quickly given the severity of the attack. Kaspersky warns The Mask, which it says has been around at least since 2007, has already targeted more than 1,000 IP addresses in 31 countries, including Iran, the United States and at least three European countries.

Related Article: Oil Explorers Beware: Hackers Are Eyeing What You Know

President Obama unveiled a roadmap last week designed to protect the electrical grid, oil and gas distribution networks and other parts of the nation's critical infrastructure from a cyberattack. Last year, the Department of Defense said it was stepping up its effort to protect national interests from attacks originating in cyberspace. The level of protection, the Defense Department said, needs to be intense.

Recent extreme weather events this season have strained the nation's ability to keep the lights on and, with energy independence the new buzz word in energy security circles, protecting against cyberattacks may be the name of the 21st century game. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said protecting the energy sector was a "vital" national interest. The consequences of not acting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission warned, would be "devastating."

By Daniel J. Graeber of Oilprice.com




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News