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Hackers tried to infiltrate the systems of several U.S. natural gas companies, including LNG exporters Cheniere Energy, Chevron, and Kinder Morgan, Bloomberg has reported, citing research by Resecurity.
According to the research, in late February, a group of hackers gained access to the computers of current and former employees of close to two dozen natural gas producers and exporters in the United States. The attack, according to Resecurity, was the first step in an attempt to infiltrate the energy industry.
The cybersecurity firm’s chief executive told Bloomberg that one of the hackers had been linked to a wave of cyberattacks against European companies by Microsoft. The attacks themselves Microsoft had attributed to a group called Strontium, it has associated with Russian military intelligence.
According to Resecurity’s chief executive, Gene Yoo, the hackers had either directly compromised the computers or had paid for access to them in preparation for an attack on the companies’ secure networks.
As for the motivation for the attack, “Recent tensions around Nord Stream 2, global market changes, as well as conflict in Ukraine are obvious catalysts,” Yoo told Bloomberg. The attack began two weeks before Russia’s incursion into Ukraine on February 24.
“Chevron takes the threat of malicious cyber activity very seriously. We have implemented the United States government’s recommendations into our cybersecurity safeguards to protect Chevron’s computing environment,” the supermajor said in response to questions from Bloomberg.
Separately, at an investor conference earlier this month, Chevron’s chief executive identified cyberattacks as the biggest risk that the company is facing.
“We’re in a high-risk environment right now from a cyber standpoint, and we’re in an industry that is a high profile, high-value target for bad actors. So that’s the thing in the short term that I probably would say, in my view is the risk I worry about the most,” Mike Wirth said.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com