Malware Spread On Oil Rig Computers Causes Concern

Malware infections are fast becoming a norm in this digital age. These infections affect not only individual users but also the systems of major corporations. Experts have cited concerns that the digital security of most oil rig systems isn’t good enough to fend off targeted malware attacks and this could prove dangerous.

Oil rig

Offshore oil rigs are out in the open ocean, aloof from land. The employees working on such rigs keep moving between the land and the sea, thus bringing with them, USBs, laptops and other hardware.

It is through such hardware malicious programs spread to many oil rigs. For instance, in a recent incident, an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico ran into trouble, leading to a complete system lockup. Naturally, that caused the oil company which owned that rig a lot in monetary terms.

However, even worst is the possibility that a tailored malware could be used to target different oil rigs. In the worst case scenario, such a malware can even be used to blow up a well, causing huge loss of human lives as well as oil spills, leading to significant environmental concerns.

The problem is that many oil companies are simply not ready to implement better cyber-security solutions. Most of them run in the old-school fashion, which essentially means a lack of emphasis on digital security. But it is increasingly becoming inevitable to guard oil rigs against potential malware attacks.

According to the co-founder of Alert Logic, Misha Govshteyn, “The tide is slowly rising and incrementally making things better, but the exposed area is really so high that it’s not really fast enough to limit the risk.”

In recent times, it has often been witnessed that hackers have gone after critical national infrastructure, trying to wreck maximum damage. Some of these hackers may be state-sponsored, which means that they have virtually infinite resources to launch their attacks. In face of such possibilities, oil companies must take these threats seriously and improve the standards of their cyber security.

Courtesy: Houston Chronicle

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