ICS Attacks in the Oil and Gas Industry

As global terrorism increases, the attacks on oil and gas facilities are at an increase as well. Cyber-attacks on the Industrial Control Systems (ICS) are on the rise. ICS’s can be anything from computer software all the way to the control system that regulates the valves on a pipeline. If a system is compromised, it has the ability to delay operations causing a significant loss for the company.

DRAGOS is an industrial cyber security platform that identifies assets and communications, as well as detecting threats through behavioral analytics. DRAGOS observed new activity of a group called HEXANE targeting ICS’s in the Middle East. Active since 2018, HEXANE distinguished itself by its unique behaviors on how it uses its attacks. They go after networks of the “man in the middle” operations for oil and gas industries which are abundant in the Middle East. 

Other groups, such as the Iranian threat group Magnallium, have made increased attempts at U.S. government and financial institutions, as well as oil and gas companies. The oil and gas companies are at a higher risk due to the life factor. Companies that use ICS’s with flammable products as well as chemicals can potentially cause explosions if a system was compromised. From a homeland security perspective, loss of human life is a worst case scenario which makes it a valued target for these groups.

With these threats being more prevalent, it causes a demand for more ICS security companies, such as DRAGOS. This market is set to have a 20% increase by 2024 as the internet continues to penetrate almost all industries across the globe. The manufacturing industry, where 1/3 of these attacks happen, is the most susceptible to the cyber threats. With that being the case, this is causing the big players in the industry to step up and find ways to protect their network security and assets. We should see a big uptick in the cybersecurity market especially with the upcoming election.









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