Take a look at these examples:
Cyber espionage hit the headlines recently in the first week of September 2012 withÂ reports of a series of hacker attacks. State-owned Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggestÂ oil producer, and Qatar gas exporter Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co., known asÂ RasGas, were hit last month by a virus called Shamoon.Â
This virus that badly affected the computer systems at these two major oil and gasÂ companies in the Persian Gulf appear to be deliberate attempts at massive sabotage.
Saudi Aramco, which has a total staff of about 56,066, saw 30,000 of its workstationsÂ affected by the cyber-attack. It was forced to isolate all its electronic systems fromÂ outside access until it restored them and restricted its remote Internet access.
In 2000, the Interior Ministry of Russia reported that hackers seized temporaryÂ control of the system regulating gas flows in natural gas pipelines, although it is notÂ publicly known if there was physical damage [Quinn-Judge]. The former Soviet UnionÂ was victim of an attack to their gas pipeline infrastructure in 1982 when a logic bombÂ caused an explosion in Siberia.
In India as well, there are many industries faced with cyber-attacks, of which someÂ of the attacks are identified, while others are in suspected stage. Some of theseÂ attacks are severe enough to cause re-installation of the system and production loss.Â
According to industry estimates, over the last decade, India has seen an increase inÂ the number of cyber-attacks, from 2,565 in 2008 to 8,266 in 2009 and 10,315 in 2010.Â
Recent example is a cyber-security breach being suspected as the reason for theÂ recent power grid failure and for the Northeast India crisis.Â There is also increasingÂ evidence that demonstrates the threat of cyber-attacks to critical infrastructureÂ like oil & gas refineries, power grids, hospitals etc. which makes it a must forÂ organizations to evaluate their vulnerabilities and implement a robust security systemÂ to counter them.Â
Today’s natural gas transmission and distribution systems are heavily dependent uponÂ technology and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems to safely andÂ efficiently transport the energy product to the end user.
Designing, operating, and maintaining a pipeline facility to meet essential availability,Â reliability, safety, and security needs as well as process control requirements requiresÂ the careful evaluation and analysis of all risk factors.Â
“Attacks on a cyber-system may involve only the cyber components and theirÂ operation, but those impacts can extend into the physical, business, human, andÂ environmental systems to which they are connected. A cyber event, whether causedÂ by an external adversary, an insider, or inadequate policies and procedures, canÂ initiate a loss of system control, resulting in negative consequences,” explainsÂ Amitava Biswas, Country Head, Honeywell Process Solutions.
However, the industry is unaware of these facts, most of the manufacturing
businesses in India do not have a crisis management plan and often productivityÂ is chosen over security. While alarming, these statistics are not surprising. MostÂ businesses have the attitude – ‘It will never happen to me.’
There is a critical need for the manufacturing sector in India to be aware of theÂ cyber landscape, high risks they are exposed to and they must also ensure themselvesÂ with latest technology and adhere to international best practices.Â
A comprehensive cyber-security management system, a scientific approach,Â incorporation of the best automation technology offers an effective solution for theÂ growing cyber-security challenges in today’s operating environment.
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