Becrypt continues expansion in US with appointme... » Seeds of Genius, a specialist supplier to Federal Government and DOD, has joined the fast-growing nu... Lancope Strengthens Cisco pxGrid Support for faste... » LONDON (UK): Lancope, Inc.is providing tight product integration with the new Cisco Identity Service... International SOS and Vismo in joint partnership t... » York, UK: International SOS, the world's leading medical and security services company, and Vismo, a... Tech Mahindra selects Qualys to expand global IT s... » REDWOOD CITY, Calif.: Qualys, Inc. has announced a strategic partnership with Tech Mahindra , a mult... Barracuda launches SignNow Appliance » Barracuda Networks has launched the Barracuda SignNow version 4.0 and the new Barracuda SignNow Appl... Boston Networks design, deliver and maintain Intel... » Regarded as the world’s most prestigious team golf event, Boston Networks delivers a full turnkey so... British Parliament tells Teeside University to sta... » Ground-breaking research at Teesside University which has been described as the “holy grail” of crim... Army Officer wins engineering Modern Day Visionary... » Source: MoD AIRCRAFT Engineering Officer Major Oli Morgan has been named as the 2014 Modern Day V... Electronic I.D. Card project in Nigeria: How not t... » President Goodluck Jonathan recently launched a MasterCard-branded Nigerian National Electronic I.D ... Do you know which smartphone is the most popular s... » Surprisingly, it’s not the iPhone, LG, Huawei or HTC and Windows Phone hardly gets a look in. Even t...

CLICK HERE TO

Advertise with Vigilance

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.”