Dec 05, 2019

The Rising Cybersecurity Risk for Propane & Fuel Oil Dealers

Cybersecurity issues are becoming something of a norm in day-to-day business operations. Recent trends in cybersecurity show a major increase in breached data from sources that are common in the workplace, such as mobile devices and IoT. And while major cyberattacks noted in the media focus on banks or tech companies, they’re making their way into different industries as well, showing no favor or bias toward any one sector.

In fact, cyber issues are on the rise in the oil and gas industry as more than two-thirds of U.S. oil and gas firms have experienced a cyberattack. Recent security research shows that most companies operate with unprotected data and poor cyber practices, opening them up to major losses and vulnerabilities.

It’s important for these oil and gas companies to take matters into their own hands to stave off attacks or at least limit the potential harm they can cause through cybersecurity awareness and security best practices.

Cybercriminals on the Hunt

While more talked-about industries like financial services and social media may seemingly easily attract cybercriminals looking to hold financial information and sensitive data ransom, the oil and gas industry is no less of a target.

Oil and gas companies are increasingly becoming dependent on technology, such as IoT, to handle their sensitive information. Interconnected systems help run the oil rigs and gas pipelines, and monitor safety systems. These complex environments create a perfect target for large-scale and sprawling attacks.

Internet of Things

As mentioned above, IoT is increasingly becoming a major tool for oil and gas companies in handling their operations. It has helped push more data and streamline the daily process of oil and gas companies across the globe. Companies now operate some of their systems remotely and track data and production through IoT devices, such as pressure monitoring systems and HVAC.

While this is helping to cut down on the overall time and resources it takes to move things along, this tech ecosystem is only opening the door for cyberattackers to infiltrate these technologies. A cybercriminal will attack a remote monitoring device and check to see how vulnerable it is.

Types of Attacks and Criminals

Like any kind of cybersecurity problems, the oil and gas industry is home to a number of different attacks and attackers; it isn’t just one person hunkering over a computer, stealing codes. There are many different ways malicious activities can be executed, helping to open up vulnerabilities.

First, there’s the inadvertent insider, which is someone on staff who is uninformed and uneducated around cybersecurity issues within the industry and the company they work for. This person unknowingly opens up a phishing email, for example, triggering a ransomware attack.

A malicious insider, on the other hand, is someone on staff who’s willingly committing sabotage and has enough access to infiltrate systems through IoT devices. Whether or not the insider commits a fraudulent activity knowingly, the potential for attacks from the inside is a great opportunity to review cybersecurity education awareness.

It’s also a great opportunity to look over a company’s cyber insurance coverage, which can protect against major losses. An oil insurance company can provide cyber insurance for this industry through specific and targeted coverage. These programs help to provide the funds necessary to back up a company in the event of a cyberattack and restore its systems back to working order following claims.

Another type of attack against an oil and gas company is a nation-state attack, something that has garnered media attention in recent years due to foreign actors infiltrating election processes around the world. Nation-state attacks disrupt the supply of oil and gas and can cause a chain reaction throughout the company and the industry.

These attacks tend to rely on phishing scams to enter an IT environment and the main interest here is related to gathering data or disabling systems altogether.

About Tangram Insurance Services

Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, just outside of San Francisco, Tangram Insurance Services is a full-service Managing General Underwriter and Program Manager offering specialty programs. We focus on industry-relevant coverage, competitive pricing, and practical business and risk management solutions for your clients. Since we are not all things to all people, we make sure to create outstanding custom-built solutions that matter to those businesses, and the brokers who serve those industries. Contact us at (888) 744-9810.