Detective Inspector Eamonn Keane is in charge of Police Scotlands cyber-crime operation team. When speaking at the Digital Energy Conference in Aberdeen, he warned around 300 delegates that international energy companies that are based in Scotland may “come under the radar” of cyber-criminals.
In August, cyber-criminals carried out a cyber-attack on a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia which investigators believe was intended to trigger an explosion. The only thing that stopped this explosion from being carried out was the fact that there was a mistake in the cyber-criminals computer code.
Mr. Keane claims that the potential for a cyber-attack on Scottish firms from nation states or organized crime should not be underestimated.
He said, “If you look at recent threats to the energy sector in the form of cyber-attacks, there have been attacks on nuclear and petrochemical on a global basis that the oil and gas sector needs to be aware of.
Examples include; an attack on an Iranian nuclear facility, an attack on a Saudi Arabian petrochemical company, and there was also an attack on a Ukrainian power plant. He advises that “What was unique about them was that they were power stations with energy or oil and gas capabilities.”
He further added saying, “We have a range of motivations behind these attacks from nation states to organized crime but it is not without foundation to say that a large international energy company with a base in Scotland could come under the radar.”
He even made a presentation to promote the need of ““resilience through collaboration” between public, private and third sector firms.
He claims that the need for resilience and adaptability is very critical in the energy sector as well as the sector operating infrastructures such as pipelines and gas.
He said, “The oil and gas industry is a very regulated industry which is well invested in their cyber security, but they are managing an infrastructure that needs constant investment in hardware and software to address the latest developments in cyber-crime.
If we look globally we’re seeing a rise of attacks on this type of infrastructure. It’s something that we can’t rule out.”