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Oil and gas process control systems increasingly at risk from cyber attacks

Oil and gas firms globally are increasingly exposed to cyber threats as a result of converging technological, terrorism and political risks, says Marsh.

Oil and gas firms with installations in politically sensitive geographies are more exposed to cyber attacks, given the potentially crippling nature of any ensuing disruption on national energy supplies.

“Cyber attacks on oil and gas installations can have an added ideological or political motivation, where the ultimate goal is to undermine government agendas or deter investment,” said Robert Robinson, a managing director in Marsh’s Energy Practice. “These attacks can potentially trigger unscheduled shutdowns in refineries, platforms and other installations; the consequences of which range from brief interruptions to operations and property damage, to environmental pollution and even loss of life.”

According to Marsh, the cyber threats facing the global energy sector stem from both malicious intent and low levels of awareness among employees of the risks associated with internet usage and connecting personal devices to company systems.

Stephen Wares, leader of Marsh’s Cyber Risk Practice in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, commented: “While traditional business interruption insurance policies require physical damage before a claim can be made, specific cyber insurance policies providing broader cover are gaining increased attention among oil and gas firms. But only by understanding the nature of the threat, developing and rigorously applying robust risk engineering procedures to deal with cyber attacks and, above all, being vigilant to this constantly evolving risk can oil and gas firms effectively protect their installations.”

www.marsh.com

•Date: 21st Feb 2013 • World •Type: Article • Topic: ISM

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