Wednesday, June 10, 2015

May news roundup

Every day, the need for effective cybersecurity becomes apparent across new global sectors. Whether in the energy industry, power grids or critical infrastructure, it is clear that industrial cybersecurity is essential to an international audience. We’ve got the latest on this growing theme in this month’s news roundup. 

Federal cybersecurity experts are finding more and more vulnerabilities in control system components. Of the 245 cyberthreat-related incidents last year, 14 came from the water sector. Water utilities are bringing in an increasing amount of attention from the Homeland Security Department. According to a survey by the Ponemon Institute, nearly 70 percent of critical infrastructure companies suffered a security breach in the last year. Moreover, Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) has said that the number of vulnerability reports for industrial control systems increased more than 15 percent in the last year.

Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security (Plant Engineering, May 20, 2015)
Production of oil and natural gas in the United States and Canada is much higher than ever before. However, an increase in gas production means a denser network of pipelines, inviting more cyberattacks. The U.S. has more than 182,000 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines, 325,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines and 2.15 million miles of natural gas distribution pipelines, which are all sensitive to impending threats. While there have not been reports of pipeline attacks in the U.S., the number of international attacks is growing.

According to Yusuph Kileo, cybersecurity and digital forensics investigation expert, Africa’s greatest security threat is to its critical infrastructure due to several factors. For instance, because of their lack of knowledge in the field, decision makers in Africa do not consider cyberthreats a priority. There is also a lack of collaboration and few laws to protect the continent against cyberattacks, especially those to its critical infrastructures.

According to a new report by the State Department, recent research suggests Iran may have intentions to use its cyberforce to attack global critical infrastructure. Hackers in Iran have been the culprits of multiple attacks to the private sector, including energy and power firms.

During a panel discussion at the Independent Power Producers of New York conference, security experts discussed cyber and physical vulnerabilities in the energy sector. The U.S. power grid is the most complex risk landscape, so says William Flynn, former Homeland Security principal deputy assistant secretary for infrastructure security. Threats to the U.S. power grid include domestic and overseas acts of terrorism.

Interested in learning more about international industrial security? Read more in last month’s news roundup.