12 Dec 2011

Hacking attack could hurt world's oil supply

Governments have been predicting something of a "cyber war" for a while against hackers, but now the world's oil supply may be at risk. Hackers are at work with bombarding the computer-controlled energy industry, and Reuters said it is "threatening potential global havoc through oil supply disruption." This industry should secure itself with strengthened internet security as soon as possible.

"If anybody gets into the area where you can control opening and closing of valves, or release valves, you can imagine what happens," said Ludolf Luehmann, an IT manager at Shell Europe's biggest company. "It will cost lives and it will cost production, it will cost money, cause fires and cause loss of containment, environmental damage - huge, huge damage."

Computers control energy productions and distribution plants across the world and Luehmann said the industry is seeing an increasing number of attacks with what he calls "clear commercial interests"

Stephan Klien, vice president of oil and gas operations for the Middle East and North Africa at SAP, asked what might happen to the 80 million barrels of oil that are processed through IT systems. These systems need to be protected with internet security, antivirus software and anything else that may help.