WHAT THE SUNDAY TERROR ATTACK MEANS FOR MALI—AND A... » At least two people have been killed in a tourist resort popular with westerners - Le Campement - in... Need to "Repeal the Perpetual Illegal Wars" » Charlie Savage of the New York Times reports in "Senators Wrestle With Updating Law Authorizing War ... After Terrorist Attack, Spain Rejected Its Hawks. ... » Email: sam@accuracy.org Husseini is communications director with the Institute for Public Accuracy.... Cisco includes Italtel’s enterprise SDN applicat... » Milan: Italtel has announced its Netwrapper application has been included in the official Cisco GPL ... InfinityQS upholds ISO 9001:2015 & ISO 27001:2013 ... » InfinityQS® International, Inc. (InfinityQS) has announced that it has successfully sustained its ce... New PT Application Firewall easier to deploy, co... » London: Cybersecurity expert Positive Technologies has announced a new version of its web applicatio... Logicalis acquires Packet Systems Indonesia to g... » London: Logicalis, an international IT solutions and managed services provider, together with Metrod... Revolutionary new AI event to launch in London -... » London: With discussion around artificial intelligence (AI) at an all-time high, MACHINA Summit.AI i... Basefarm acquires The unbelievable Machine Compa... » LONDON: Basefarm has announced their acquisition of the Berlin-based The unbelievable Machine Compan... PhishMe takes home SC Europe Awards 2017 » LONDON, UK: PhishMe® Inc. has announced that PhishMe Simulator™ and PhishMe Reporter® were recognise...

CLICK HERE TO

Advertise with Vigilance

SOCIAL BOOKMARK

Got News?

Got news for Vigilance?

Have you got news/articles for us? We welcome news stories and articles from security experts, intelligence analysts, industry players, security correspondents in the main stream media and our numerous readers across the globe.

READ MORE

Subscribe to Vigilance Weekly

Information Security Header


Cyber security ME

Dubai (United Arab Emirates) / Arnhem (the Netherlands, Europe): More than elsewhere, the energy sector in the Middle East is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Although governments and companies have raised concern, the awareness in the region for cyber threats is insufficient in relation to the technology developments and the level of impact a cyber-attack could have on an average Middle Eastern utility.

What is needed is that national governments start to develop coherent cyber security strategies and plans, supported by standards and regulations across the major infrastructure sectors. “As cyber security threats are not restricted to one single group but can come from different corners, it is time that we all open our eyes and take appropriate actions to protect our countries and guarantee a safe and sustainable energy provision,” says Mohammed Atif, Managing Director of DNV KEMA.

Investments in cyber defense in the Middle Eastern energy sector have been planned but, contrary to Europe and the US, there is no cyber security strategy implemented yet. At the same time, an attack on crucial energy expert infrastructure and/or key transiting routes would not just have a local, but also global impact.

The incidence of cyber-attacks in the Middle East Region is growing. Until recently, most of the attacks focused upon computers and websites, front doors to governments and energy companies. Nowadays, as the viruses become increasingly sophisticated, the physical assets such as power stations and power grids are also under threat. Last year, Saudi Aramco and RasGas reported that viruses appeared on office computers, rather than on systems controlling hydrocarbon production. According to its government, in Iran, computers at several nuclear power stations were infected with viruses, while also computers of its national oil company were under threat.

“It is a positive development that the Gulf Cooperation Council has placed cyber defense as one of their priority areas for development”, says Mohammed Atif, Managing Director of DNV KEMA in the Middle East. “It is also positive that a number of member states have planned investments to protect their energy infrastructure. However, the composition and implementation of well-defined cyber protection plans are lagging behind compared with other regions. This is a situation to really worry about. A cyber-attack on crucial energy supplies and transiting routes in this region would impact the entire world.”

Information on common cyber defense systems like SCADA, Stuxnet and ISPs is more and more becoming publicly available both in and outside the region. In addition – contrary to the situation of only a couple of years ago – industrial control systems are all interconnected with corporate IT networks and the internet, while at the same time the interconnectivity of energy assets such as power grids, is strongly increasing. These developments, in combination with insufficient awareness and the absence of a cyber-defense plan, make the energy sector in the Middle East vulnerable, more than elsewhere.

“Sharing responsibility between governments and companies in vital sectors is a first, necessary step in securing safe and reliable cyber networks”, says Mohammed. “As cyber security threats are not restricted to one single group, but can come from different corners e.g. governments, activists and hackers, criminal organizations, terrorist organizations and even from within, it is time that we all open our eyes and take appropriate actions to protect our countries and guarantee a safe and sustainable energy provision.”