Middle East energy sector at risk from cyber-attacks

control-room-solutionThe energy sector in the Middle East is vulnerable to cyber-attacks and co-operation is required between government and companies to secure cyber networks, according to experts.

DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability, a global leader in business consultancy and risk management in the energy sector, claims the Middle East energy sector is more susceptible than anywhere else in the world.

It warns that awareness throughout the Middle East is “insufficient in relation to the technology developments and the level of impact a cyber-attack could have on an average Middle Eastern utility”.

DNV KEMA warns that governments must develop coherent cyber security strategies, supported by standards and regulations, to prevent an attack on its energy infrastructure that could have huge consequences not just locally, but around the globe.

Mohammed Atif, managing director of DNV KEMA, said the sharing of responsibility between governments and energy companies is a “necessary step” to create safe and reliable cyber networks.

“As cyber security threats are not restricted to one single group, but can come from different corners e.g. governments, activists and hackers, criminal organisations, terrorist organisations and even from within, it is time that we all open our eyes and take appropriate actions to protect our countries and guarantee a safe and sustainable energy provision,” he said.

Atif added it was a “positive development” that cyber security has been identified as a priority area by the Gulf Cooperation Council, while a number of member states have also stated they intend to invest more to protect their energy infrastructure.

“However, the composition and implementation of well-defined cyber protection plans are lagging behind compared with other regions. This is a situation to really worry about. A cyber-attack on crucial energy supplies and transiting routes in this region would impact the entire world,” he said.

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