Computers control nearly all aspects of the worlds oil supply today. Increasingly, they are coming under more and more frequent and carefully planned cyber attacks. Hackers conduct industrial espionage and threaten potential global havoc through oil supply disruption.
“If anybody gets into the area where you can control opening and closing of valves, or release valves, you can imagine what happens,” said Ludolf Luehmann, an IT manager at Shell Europe’s biggest company .
“It will cost lives and it will cost production, it will cost money, cause fires and cause loss of containment, environmental damage – huge, huge damage,” he told the World Petroleum Congress in Doha.”
The Hackers are collecting information over prolonged periods of time. Collecting information on specific systems before launching an attack.
The unique problem facing energy companies as opposed to others is that they cannot afford to shut down the fix security patches. “Oil needs to keep on flowing,” said Riemer Brouwer, head of IT security at Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO).
Now not only the skilled, but anyone, thanks to easy access to online videos can hack into a major corporation.
Luehmann said “Everyone can hack today,”. “The number of potential hackers is not a few very skilled people — it’s everyone.”