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Most U.S. oil and gas firms are exposed to risks of a cyber breach, a new study by cyber risk rating and monitoring company BreachBits showed on Tuesday.
The study and analysis of 98 upstream, midstream, downstream, and supply chain companies across the U.S. oil and gas sector showed that the risk for the sector overall is medium, but the risk is not evenly distributed across the industry.
For example, a total of 94% of all ransomware threats were held by only 51% of companies in the study, BreachBits said. Other findings concluded that the larger the company, the greater the risk of a cyber breach. The risk increases for companies with more than $50 million in annual recurring revenue, and the risk significantly increases for companies with more than 250 employees.
The study by BreachBits ranked 59% of companies at Medium Risk for a cyber breach, 13% at Low Risk, and 28% at Very Low Risk.
“On average, the oil and gas companies we observed were at Medium Risk, with a score of 4.1 out of ten on our BreachRisk scale, but that risk was not distributed evenly across the sector,” said BreachBits CEO and Co-Founder John Lundgren.
“Additionally, 11% of the companies presented potentially serious, High Risk threats. We identify and monitor cyber risks at scale as we did here, detect issues and then test them just as a hacker would for our customers,” Lundgren added.
Globally, energy industry executives are bracing up for an increase in cyberattacks over the next two years, research from DNV among 940 respondents from around the world showed in May.
According to the study, 84 percent of executives expect these will lead to physical damage to energy assets, while more than half—54 percent—expect cyberattacks to result in loss of human life. Some 74 percent of the respondents expect environmental damage as a result of a cyberattack.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com