BAE Systems awarded £50 million contract » Photo: MoD Photo: MoD The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has awarded a £50m contract to BAE Systems t... Octavian opens new office in South Africa » Octavian Security has kicked off its ambitious 2015 growth plans by launching a new South African of... icomply partners with TIS in security overhaul of ... » icomply has recently partnered with TIS on overhauling the security system of Boots UK. The central ... Tech Trailblazers Awards announce the startup wi... » London, UK: The Tech Trailblazers Awards, the first annual awards program for enterprise information... ASIS Foundation and University of Phoenix to awa... » ASIS Foundation Opens Application for 10 Full-tuition University of Phoenix Scholarships Feb. 2 Lieberman Software reduces the risks of enterprise... » LONDON, UK: It can be almost impossible to manually discover and track all of the privileged account... Cubic Defence New Zealand ranks number one for D... » SAN DIEGO, Calif.: Cubic Corporation has announced that Australian Defence Magazine ranked Cubic Def... Blame the 'Grand Children' of the North (GCON) ov... » When people are secluded and prevented from being exposed to the trends of civilisation and enlighte... AppRiver dissects current global threats to cybe... » London, UK: AppRiver, LLC has released its year-end Global Security Report, a detailed summary and a... OPSWAT acquires email security provider Red Earth ... » LONDON (UK): OPSWAT has acquired Red Earth Software, developer of email security and secure file tra...

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.”