Addressing Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities In The Energy Sector

5:14 am
April 14, 2022
cogent infotech
Cyber Security
Dallas, TX
Cogent Consulting
Blogs

Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities are the new reality of the energy sector. Whether lawbreakers are looking for a quick buck or nation-state actors interested in geopolitics, the digitized oil and gas platform is a ripe target.

Board members and cyber security personnel are looking for various ways to halt such activities. So, they need to follow specific measures to mitigate such continuous threats. 

Keep reading this article to know-how.

Reasons for Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in Energy Sector

Data theft, invoicing deception, and malware are amongst the cyberattacks that electric-power and gas firms face. Nevertheless, the energy sector has certain features that increase the dangers of cyberattacks on utilities.

Some of them are:

Growing threats and threat actors

The danger for utilities has grown to include a massive range of threats from a broader range of players. Nation-state agents and other competent parties increasingly target infrastructure suppliers as part of more extensive initiatives.

Although most companies are aware of the threats posed by cybersecurity, there are still disparities in their capacity to acquire financing to engage in OT and IT cybersecurity measures. Many governments lack the specialized staff to examine cybersecurity program costs factored into a utility's consumer billing prices.

Massive footprint

Companies must run a geographically scattered network over numerous locations by their very nature.

 It is challenging to maintain transparency throughout IT and OT systems, connecting network activities with physical security devices like badge system logs. This problem is exacerbated in developing countries, and it is vast in low-energy-return assembly plants like solar farms.

In such farms, researchers have discovered that the cost of firmly safeguarding a site and fuelling extra cyber and monitoring facilities can easily outweigh any revenue generated from operations.

In parallel to utility-controlled facilities, businesses have geographical risks in consumer-facing equipment.  

However, distance isn't the only — or yet the most crucial — factor that renders the business susceptible to cyberattacks. The other aspect is the level of organizational complexity. 

The merger of physical and cyberspace

The unusual interrelations between digital systems and physical infrastructure within the electric power and gas industries offer high consequences for security officials. 

A break in one part of this interrelation could significantly impact the other. 

In the worst-case scenario, the grid might lose electricity, the equipment could be destroyed, and devices could be damaged.

Other issues in the Operations Technology realm include essential equipment and telephone networks used to connect between OT facilities and carriers.

Administrators may, for example, rely on data from security and transit monitoring systems to manage the flow of power or gasoline without additional manual validation or stringent data integrity policies. And, here, data manipulation could occur.

Data manipulation could produce dangerous overpayments (possibly destroying gear) or interruptions.

Measures to Cater Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in Energy Sector

Implementing some of these points can make the cybersecurity condition of the energy sector better. 

Make Programs to close down the gaps.

Design programs to minimize physical and operational knowledge and communication barriers, fostering a security culture. 

Companies must coordinate a well-functioning power security apparatus to guarantee that the finest brains throughout the organization are not just secure but are aware of these issues. 

They must have solid protocols to report potential weaknesses and emergent events.

Technical platforms should also offer security with a unified image of sites throughout regions and business divisions. It is mainly for detecting synchronized assault and surveillance activities.

Executive Collaboration across the industry

Partnership across the sector to handle the growing confluence of physical and digital risks can also aid cybersecurity vulnerabilities. 

Industry partnerships must regularly communicate, safeguarding the delicate links between online and offline assets, plus IT and OT networks. 

Other Effective Ways

  • Use the company's current threat intelligence software to recognize gaps and chances to boost circumstanced awareness among team members.
  • Chalk out areas to enhance information exchange inside and outside with other power stations, distributors, and service providers.
  • Define a comprehensive threat intelligence project, including establishing tactical, functional, and global threat intelligence subjects, commodities, and artifacts and a release schedule for each.
  • Examine the strategic threat intelligence network's accelerators in-depth, such as the threat intelligence group's working methodology and knowledge-sharing skills.
  • Educate important threat intelligence partners on product development as well as information-sharing benchmarks. 
Conclusion

Industry leaders must seize this moment to establish clear aims and standards for protecting the digital industrial era. The more the delay, the more the growing dangers.

Do you have any other ways to tackle cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the energy sector? Feel free to share. 

Stay tuned to this space for more related updates.

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