Blog

Cyber Protection in the Oil & Gas Industry

Posted on | Posted in Blog

Cyber protection in midstream oil & gas, SCADA seems like too esoteric to engage interest of industry outsiders. However, if the spill, explosion or gaseous release are big enough – that focus will change.

SCADA is the system of sensors that measure and control the flows of natural gas and crude oil produced in thousands of oil & gas wells around the nation. They are digital, computer controlled, and widely accessible to a moderately capable hacker.

Disable a level sensor and a tank overflows. Spoof a flow meter input and the computer opens a valve. Over-speeding a compressor risks an electrical failure, spark and explosion.

In a recent study from the Ponemon Institute – The State of Cybersecurity in the Oil & Gas Industry: United States it was reported that, on average, 46 percent of cyber attacks are believed by respondents to go undetected, and nearly 70 percent of oil and gas companies were hacked in the past year.

Every operator has to deal with tens of thousands of these systems and sub-systems. Most have no specific records of what equipment exists, how it’s configured or how it’s secured. Sure, they run OK – but that’s not the concern. So does your PC and smartphone. The difference is your PC and smartphone have passwords, filters and firewalls. This is not the case with most of those producing wells, gathering systems and pipeline sections.

It’s a HUGE task to protect these systems and the only way to start is to establish a cyber protection program that mirrors the safety program. Safety is culturally ingrained in oil & gas operations. It’s a system that works and can be successfully modeled to accommodate cyber protection issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts
25 Sep 2017
Share

Take a Flood Insurance Lesson from HAZMON

Houston is amazingly flat, with high ground existing mostly on freeway interchanges. On top of that, add three bayous and at least two rivers that drain state-sized basins through the city and surrounding residential communities.  When it rains in Southeast Texas the water flows toward Galveston Bay, and a few times each year at least[…..]

Latest Posts
21 Sep 2017
Share

What About Ethics?

Ethics are a set of standards which define correct or desired behavior. That’s an easy definition to state but in practice a hard concept to embrace.  The word is worn like the proverbial cheap suit and bandied about by those whose behavior makes most of us shudder.  Hard to define, ethical behavior is something most[…..]

Latest Posts
15 Sep 2017
Share

Don’t Tell People How to Give

It took me a few days to explain the patterns of rescue, giving and recovery observed recently with the devastations brought about by Harvey. Stories in social media and news reporting abounded with individuals pitching in from the get-go. The rescues began almost within minutes. The nation watched video of the Cajun Navy, boat owners[…..]

Latest Posts
05 Sep 2017
Share

Spies, Lies & Negotiations

Go watch “Bridge of Spies” starring Tom Hanks. Forget the popcorn. Get a pen and pad to take notes. This is the best video training on negotiation I’ve seen in years. Here are my notes on the movie. Always be prepared to walk away. Make sure the other side knows that you will. This one[…..]

Latest Posts
24 Aug 2017
Share

There’s No Such Thing As Two Identical SCADA Systems

Stroll through your local Ford dealership and look at the rows of F150’s, America’s most produced vehicle. Ford sold 820,799 in 2016.   Find two that are EXACTLY alike. I mean same EVERYTHING. Find two so alike the invoices are identical. Betcha can’t.   Same thing is true of industrial add-ons like the SCADA systems[…..]