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Greater digitisation of oil and gas industry opens the door to more attacks, warns cybersecurity expert

Nov 27. 2020
Aasef Iqbal, Sr. Specialist - OT Cybersecurity, Fortinet
Aasef Iqbal, Sr. Specialist - OT Cybersecurity, Fortinet
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By Sirivish Toomgum
The Nation

More surfaces are becoming susceptible to digital attack as businesses are relying more on connected digital infrastructure to boost their operation efficiency, said Aasef Iqbal, senior specialist - OT Cybersecurity at Fortinet.

California-based Fortinet develops and markets cybersecurity products and services.

Iqbal was speaking on the issue of digital security in the oil and gas sector at the "Secure OT 2020: Innovation through Disruption" hosted by Fortinet on November 24 and 25.

In his speech, he advised oil and gas organisations to identify the weakness in their infrastructure and apply risk-based approach. He also told them to develop a holistic cybersecurity strategy by following industry standards.

He added that the companies should check their security systems for any gaps that might exist by using industry standard compliance frameworks, which can also be used for continuous improvement.

He added that oil and gas businesses rely more and more on digital technology as part of their digital transformation. They are digitising or sensorising their production process, which is increasing the number of intelligent devices connected to their control network to help with immediate business decisions.

Digital transformation has continued to grow in response to increased collaboration between stakeholders and markets, as well as the use of

process automation to optimise resources and time, he said.

The current business environment also demands the implementation of technology to enable workers to remotely take part in business

functions, Iqbal said.

He added that when there are many different digital products being used in an infrastructure, there are many different technologies to manage. Hence, the challenge is to maintain a balance between people, process and technology.

Companies in the oil and gas industry also need programs to defend and protect themselves from threats such as ransomware. This solution should work automatically due to shortage of staff.

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