The Number of Cyber Attacks on Energy Infrastructure Is On the Rise.
According to data from the S&P Global Platts Oil Security Sentinel research project, 35 major cyberattacks on energy and oil infrastructure have taken place since 2017. This makes up one-third of all cyberattack incidents that have happened in the past five years.
In the past year, there have been several high-profile cyberattacks. One example is the ransomware attack on the computer network of the key fuel pipeline for the U.S. East Coast, Colonial Pipeline. That cyberattack in May 2021 forced the pipeline operator to shut it down for five days. The cyberattack and the subsequent shut down of the pipeline resulted in fuel shortages, a run to gas stations, and a spike in U.S. gasoline prices.
A month after the Colonial Pipeline attack, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said that there are people who could shut down the U.S. power grid or parts of it, and she is calling for increased public-private cooperation to prevent cyberattacks.
The world's biggest oil company, Saudi Aramco, was attacked in the summer of 2021. Hackers stole 1 terabyte of data from the company and were selling it on the dark web. This was a big deal because this was a lot of data and it came from a big company.
In a recent cyberattack on oil infrastructure, some of northwest Europe's biggest ports were disrupted early this month. The ports of Antwerp in Belgium and Hamburg in Germany were affected. Company IT systems were also affected at the major oil trading hub Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp.
The oil and gas industry is a prime target for cyberattacks, as these attacks can have a significant impact on the economy. As we've seen from the S&P Global Platts Oil Security Sentinel research project, there has been a significant increase in the number of cyberattacks targeting energy and oil infrastructure in recent years. It's more important than ever for companies in this industry to take steps to protect their networks and data.