Industry’s Continued Leadership in Preventing Cyberattacks
Posted February 1, 2019
The 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community has made some headlines since its release on Tuesday, but it also affirms something that we’ve been talking about for quite a while: critical natural gas and oil infrastructure is a target for a growing number of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.
Our industry recognizes that these attacks are perpetrated by a variety of attackers including nation-states and organized international criminals, and that these attacks may have the potential to temporarily compromise the critical services our industry supplies to the nation. As an industry, these attacks are something that we take very, very seriously, which is why cybersecurity is something that we are very, very good at.
The natural gas and oil industry is deeply engaged in efforts to understand cyber threats, coordinate with cybersecurity experts across the board, and stay ahead of our adversaries. We utilize best-in-class international cybersecurity standards, close collaboration with government and proven frameworks that are the best ways to stay ahead of emerging threats and bolster the cybersecurity of natural gas and oil companies and the energy infrastructure they operate.
Our companies also engage premier cybersecurity firms that specialize in protecting and defending critical infrastructure systems, utilizing some of the best talent in the world. This isn’t a passive operation; most, if not all, of the largest industry companies manage cybersecurity as an enterprise risk – the highest designation – like safety or geopolitical forces with oversight from Boards of Directors and senior executives. Like I said, we take this very seriously.
We talk a lot about natural gas – and making sure America’s natural gas infrastructure is safe and secure – and there are good reasons for that: this clean and abundant fuel is now the nation’s leading source of electricity generation, powering nearly one in three U.S. homes and helping to bring carbon emissions to 25-year lows. In addition to our industry’s defense-in-depth cybersecurity programs, the very ubiquity that’s made natural gas so dependable and affordable is also a security asset. The production, distribution and storage components of the natural gas system are geographically diverse and flexible, creating resiliency that is further reinforced by multiple fail-safes, redundancies and backups.
Much of the Nation’s critical infrastructure and resources are the targets of cyber threats from adversaries, both nation state and criminal. Because our country is increasingly reliant on affordable, efficient and reliable natural gas to power our everyday lives, it is an attractive target. But these are threats that our industry has long recognized and continues to defend against in the best ways possible. And our nation’s electricity grid is more resilient and more reliable because of it. As the intelligence community continues to identify the origins of threats to the Nation, it is crucial that they engage with the owners and operators of critical infrastructure, to ensure everyone with a need to know has the information that will help protect our Nation’s most valuable resources and services.
About The Author
Jessica Lutz is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. Jessica joined API after 10+ years leading the in-house marketing and communications for non-profits and trade associations. A Michigan native, Jessica graduated from The University of Michigan with degrees in Communications and Political Science. She resides in Washington, D.C., and spends most of her free time trying to keep up with her energetic Giant Schnauzer, Jackson.