Hackers reach the oil/gas industry

Organised cyber attacks are considered the biggest threat to the oil and gas industry

In recent years there have been repeated attacks to the oil and gas industry in the Middle East, which have been caused by cyber weaponry.

Are the attacks by hackers in the Middle East going to continue in Germany?

In December 2012, an attack by hackers in Kharg hit Iran at its weakest point, as the oil and gas sector is by far the most important source of income in the Islamic Republic. Additional computer-supported attacks were launched on Saudi Aramco, a company which controls the biggest oil field in the world. At the time, a group of hackers called “the cutting sword of justice” attracted attention, having threatened worldwide attacks on the oil and gas industry.

Cyber risks in the oil and gas industry

Innovation is also leading to potential cyber risks

The internet and the boom in dot-com companies has also opened the door to cyber risks. Two factors have led to a situation in which large companies in particular suffer from increasingly low levels of protection against new forms of attack: over the last ten years, new technology has enabled data from drilling platforms to be relayed onto computer screens at the company headquarters in real time. The goal is to achieve the precise control over the oil production volumes and to bring about added security. Ironically, however, it is the very wish for added security that has created new potential target areas for hackers and cyber terrorists.

The increased networking is leading to new risks

Many processes are becoming increasingly automated, mechanically-controlled systems are being replaced by electronic ones. As a result of this, due to open internet connections, security risks such as denial of service attacks, the manipulation of data and systems, or phishing, are gaining increasing access to networked environments. The networking for the improved management and control doesn’t only result in positive synergies, however, it also means that security risks can move from one segment of the network to the other.

Where the honeyBox® is required

With the honeypot appliance, networking no longer needs to involve cyber risks

For the operators of oil and gas systems, preventing the availability of the systems from being put at risk is the overriding goal. Therefore, in every situation, a honeypot must remain transparent for the rest of the LAN, and it must not influence other systems in the event of a failure. Since the honeypot hosts only act on a passive basis, no impact on the other areas of the LAN is to be expected.

Therefore, security technology that was originally adopted from the office environment can be supplemented to optimum effect. With a correctly configured and adapted honeypot, operators of industrial systems are able to establish an important additional security level which sustainably ensures the active protective mechanisms such as firewalls, anti-virus or intrusion prevention systems.

The honeyBox® has been developed especially for the industrial environment

Commercial honeypot systems, such as the honeyBox® industrial, have been developed especially for the industrial environment. The honeyBox® and other solutions are able to provide both low- and high-interaction honeypots in industrial environments. In the process LANs, they simulate virtual victim systems as bait so as to attract hackers. During their manual or automatic exploration of the network, the intruder comes across virtual honeypots in the LAN which appear to have a poorer level of security than the other systems.