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As Aramco, Siemens Energy and the World Economic Forum state they will be launching a joint report on cyber resilience, Siemens also announces its cybersecurity collaboration with ServiceNow to help energy companies track and respond to cyber threats.
After this month’s Colonial Pipeline cyber-attack, which held the energy firm at ransom, forcing it to suspend and reduce oil and gas activity for several weeks, cybersecurity has been the word on everyone’s lips.
As the U.S. responds to this threat with Biden’s announcement of $20 billion in funding to modernize energy systems and tackle digital security breaches, other international companies and regions of the world are coming up with their own strategies to diminish this threat.
This week, Saudi oil giant Aramco, Siemens Energy and the World Economic Forum (WEF) announced they will launch a joint report on cyber resilience in the oil and gas industry. The report will establish a blueprint for the evaluation of how best to manage various risks and threats related to cyber-attacks.
The report combines the experience of 40 players across the energy sector who will offer their experience and expertise to outline some of the major cyber threats to the industry and how these may best be mitigated to improve energy security worldwide.
The report comes following years of digital security breaches not only in the U.S., which saw the Colonial Pipeline attack this month and a security breach in February 2020 on a gas compressor facility causing a two-day outage, but also in other parts of the world. In 2012, Saudi Arabia experienced a cyberattack where over 30,000 computers were hit, demonstrating the scale of the issue.
Basim Al-Ruwaii, Chief Information Security Officer at Aramco stated in a press statement, “Establishing and aligning cybersecurity practices across the industry enhances our collective resilience efforts and allows us to present a united front against cybercrime and other critical security threats.”
While Leo Simonovich, VP and Global Head Industrial Cyber at Siemens Energy said of the report, “Digitization is empowering the oil and gas sector to become ever more efficient, resilient and reliable — but it also opened vast new vulnerabilities to cyberattack. More than ever, cybersecurity has to be at the core of companies’ business models and operations, especially in the oil and gas industry. Effective defense depends on robust monitoring and detection — which means companies cannot act alone. Coordination and alignment is crucial; this latest playbook, drawing on insights from leaders across the oil and gas sector, reflects these efforts.”
In addition to the new report, Siemens has also announced a partnership with American software company ServiceNow to establish a unified software which aims to monitor, detect and respond to cyber threats targeting critical energy infrastructure.
Siemens Energy’s artificial intelligence (AI)-based software paired with ServiceNow’s Operational Technology Management systems will present cyber threats for analysts to assess and prioritize for early response.
Leo Simonovich, head of Industrial Cybersecurity at Siemens Energy stated of the partnership, “Most energy companies struggle with the complex technological and economic challenges involved in monitoring, detecting and preventing cyberattacks on critical infrastructure. Our MDR, powered by Eos.ii, solution, is the first AI-based platform built to provide visibility and context across the energy industry’s digital operating environment in time to stop attacks”.
This is one of several ways in which the oil and gas industry is using AI and other innovative technologies to improve security as well as monitoring and evaluation practices across a multitude of areas.
As the U.S. steps up its game in the field of cybersecurity, the rest of the world has clearly taken note of this recent attack and is responding at the international level to ensure that energy security evolves in unison with the digitalisation of energy systems.
By Felicity Bradstock for Oilprice.com
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