It is obvious that whenever cyber crimes are talked about, people immediately direct their minds to the financial sector of the economy. However, it is important to note that almost each sector uses computerized systems in its operations. Consequently, every sector of the economy is exposed to cyber criminals.
We will write a custom Report on Cyber security in the Energy Sector specifically for you
301 certified writers online
In recent times, the energy sector has been the target of cyber criminals (Egan, 2012). Unfortunately, the energy sector does not take into consideration the probability of cyber crimes when advancing its systems. Consequently, no proper mechanisms have been put in place to take care for these eventualities.
Industries in the energy sector have been computerizing their services at a very high rate. Therefore, internet has become a crucial ingredient in the operations of this sector. While the energy industries are working hard to streamline their activities with the current technology, criminals are also trying their level best to get access into these systems.
The energy sector is at risk because its industries usually have large number of sensors through which people can gain access to the system. On the same note, industries in the energy sector usually hire many third party contractors who are given access to the systems (Egan, 2012). Similarly, the energy sector heavily depends on basic information technology (IT) platforms and IP-based networks which can easily be hacked. Furthermore, security of the systems is not given much attention in the energy sector.
As it is now, the energy sector is not prepared to deal with cyber crimes. The systems are weak and it is easy for criminals to hack into them. About 30,000 work stations were affected when Saudi Aramco was attacked by a virus (Egan, 2012). The third parties that are given access to the systems cannot to be trusted.
Given the weakness of the systems, it is almost impossible for the industry to defend itself from these attacks (Clayton, 2013). In this regard, in the event that a cyber attack is launched against the energy sector, it is bound to have far reaching consequences. The effects of a cyber attack on the energy sector will be worse given the fact that the industry has a single corporate and operational system. Unfortunately, the computer system is very weak and can be brought to a halt any time.
In order to be safe, the energy industry will need to take several steps. To begin with, there is need to separate the corporate networks from the operational networks. This will not only reduce accessibility of the system, but will also minimize the effects in case an attack is launched.
On the same note, since the infrastructure required to put into place an up-to-date security systems is expensive, it will be beneficial for the firms in the industry to pull resources together (Casey, 2011). This will be cheaper than it would have been if each firm incurred the cost individually.
Moreover, the energy sector will have to come up with good and strong software to use for its security services instead of the basic platforms it uses. Furthermore, the firms in the energy sector need to focus on cyber crimes and invest enough resources in research of ways to counter it.
Additionally, industries in the sector will need to use different systems at different levels of production to ensure that an attack does not bring the entire system to a standstill (Casey, 2011). These industries should also have a department to deal with cyber security and employ specialists who will help in ensuring that their systems are safe.
Casey, E. (2011). Digital Evidence and Computer Crime: Forensic Science, Computers and the Internet. Waltham: Elsevier incorporation.
Clayton, Mark. (2013, January 7). Energy Sector Cyberattacks Jumped in 2012. Were Utilities Prepared? The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from https://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2013/0107/Energy-sector-cyberattacks-jumped-in-2012.-Were-utilities-prepared
Egan, Matt. (2012, September 21). Energy Industry is a Tempting Target for Cyber Evildoers. Fox Business. Retrieved from https://www.foxbusiness.com/features/energy-industry-is-a-tempting-target-for-cyber-evildoers