Cyberattacks against the energy sector could be 'cataclysmic'

A new report by the World Energy Council says the energy sector has become a prime target for cybercriminals.

A new report by the World Energy Council says the energy sector has become a prime target for cybercriminals. It says there has been a ‘massive increase’ in the number of successful cyberattacks in the last year.  Following a couple of high-profile breaches, including the cyberattack against a German nuclear power plant, the topic of securing the energy sector has become extremely hot. 

“Cyber threats are among top issues keeping energy leaders awake at night in Europe and North America,” said Christoph Frei, Secretary General, World Energy Council.

“Over the past three years, we have seen a rapid change from zero awareness to headline presence. As a result, more than 30 countries have put in place ambitious cyber plans and strategies, considering cyber threats as a persistent risk to their economy. Cyberattacks against the energy sector can leave real, damaging, even cataclysmic consequences. Shutting down electricity could leave businesses with extra expenses, families without heating or warm water, and in terms of a meltdown of a nuclear reactor, the consequences could be dire. “What makes cyber threats so dangerous is that they can go unnoticed until the real damage is clear, from stolen data over power outages to destruction of physical assets and great financial loss. 

Over the coming years we expect cyber risks to increase further and change the way we think about integrated infrastructure and supply chain management.” 

The report has called on energy firms to improve their resilience towards cyberattacks, in order to safeguard energy security. 

Image source: Shutterstock/lolloj