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Why the energy sector faces heightened cybersecurity risk

24 March, 2022

There’s no denying that, in virtually every sector, digital technologies and transformation have enabled companies to be more connected, reliable and sustainable.

Technology provides efficiency-driving benefits such as artificial intelligence and big data, helping companies improve processes, reduce costs and boost the quality of services provided to customers. Indeed, digital technologies have provided automation opportunities alongside significant performance improvements across the industry.

However, due to the digitalisation of energy systems, the risk of cyberattacks has increased significantly; as a result, the energy sector today is a prime target for cybercriminals. Research from Hornet Security revealed that 16% of all worldwide cyberattacks in 2019 targeted the energy sector, making it the top targeted industry.

Recent examples of cybersecurity incidents aren’t hard to find. Take the 2021 attack on the Colonial Pipeline fuel supply network, for example.

The Colonial Pipeline attack saw critical data held to ransom, causing a state of emergency to be called across numerous states. Hackers gathered a single password purchased from the dark web. The vulnerability was attributed to employees being able to remotely access the company’s computer network, and ultimately cost the company millions of dollars.

Energy is one of the most vital systems that households and businesses rely on; this means any risk to energy companies is a risk to human health & safety, in addition to the economy. The disruption caused by past cyberattacks has been severe; however, the frequency and scale of incidents are increasing, with hackers exploiting not only system vulnerabilities but human errors too.

Therefore, it is highly important that energy companies have adequate cybersecurity measures in place, which protect their company and continue to provide essential services to the customers who rely on the energy they provide.

How can energy companies mitigate their risk of cyberattacks

There are several solutions that can reduce the risk of cyberattacks, including:

  • Strengthen cybersecurity systems by investing in improved technology solutions.
  • Establish a strong cyber incident response policy with collaboration across the industry.
  • Restrict remote access to critical company systems.
  • Employ cybersecurity experts to develop a highly effective cybersecurity strategy.
  • Provide high-quality cybersecurity training to all employees.
  • Make a dedicated Information Security Officer a member of the board.

Training your team to reduce your risk

There are many different types of cybersecurity awareness training solutions available for companies who are looking to reduce the risk of successful cyberattacks.

While there’s an increasing acknowledgement towards the importance of cybersecurity awareness training in the energy sector, the quality of that training can vary significantly.

Specifically, the many tick-box compliance training solutions offer broad course catalogues, but do little to positively change behaviours. The problem is twofold: dry, dull content and training that doesn’t address the weaknesses within your organisation.

At Bob’s Business, we provide online training solutions that develop cultures of cybersecurity aware employees who demonstrate behaviours to keep their company protected. From award-winning phishing simulations to NCSC-certified courses that utilise relatable characters and narratives, cybersecurity training courses from Bob’s Business are more effective than the alternative options.

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Whether you’re looking for complete culture change, phishing simulations or compliance training, we have solutions that are tailor-made to fit for your organisation.

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Global Cyber Alliance