Middle East energy sector most at risk of cyber attack

The energy sector in the Middle East is more vulnerable to cyber attacks than any other power market in the world, according to DNV KEMA.

And the company has warned that “a cyber attack on crucial energy supplies and transiting routes in this region would impact the entire world”.

DNV KEMA said that no regional cyber security strategy has yet been implemented in the Middle East, despite a rise in hacking attacks.

Until recently, most of these attacks focused on computers and websites, the so-called ‘front doors’ to energy companies, but DNV said that as viruses become increasingly sophisticated, physical assets such as power stations and power grids are also under threat.

Last year, Saudi Aramco and RasGas reported cyber attacks while in Iran computers at several nuclear power stations were infected.

The Middle East is littered with gas and oil installations and is planning to boost its energy mix by introducing nuclear and renewable energy power plants.

Mohammed Atif, managing director of DNV KEMA in the Middle East, said the region’s planned and existing cyber protection plans are lagging behind the rest of the world. “This is a situation to really worry about,” he added. “A cyber-attack on crucial energy supplies and transiting routes in this region would impact the entire world.”

He said awareness in the region of cyber threats is insufficient in relation to the technology developments and the level of impact a cyber-attack could have on an average Middle Eastern utility.

“As cyber security threats are not restricted to one single group, but can come from different corners such as governments, activists and hackers, criminal and terrorist organisations and even from within, it is time that we all open our eyes and take appropriate actions to protect our countries and guarantee a safe and sustainable energy provision.”

What is needed to remedy the situation, said Atif, is national governments to develop “coherent cyber security strategies and plans, supported by standards and regulations across the major infrastructure sectors”.

“Sharing responsibility between governments and companies in vital sectors is a first, necessary step in securing safe and reliable cyber networks”, he said.

DNV KEMA found that information on common cyber defense systems like SCADA, Stuxnet and ISPs is increasingly becoming publicly available both in and outside the region. On top of this, industrial control systems are all interconnected with corporate IT networks and the internet, while at the same time the interconnectivity of energy assets such as power grids, is strongly increasing.

“These developments, in combination with insufficient awareness and the absence of a cyber-defense plan, make the energy sector in the Middle East vulnerable, more than elsewhere,” said Atif.

Follow Power Engineering International on Twitter




Editor's Picks

CCS

Exit by utilities from EU CCS project 'a matter of great concern'

A decision by four of Europe’s largest utilities to opt out of a decade long carbon capture and storage (CCS) project is &...
Chinese yen on fire

Chinese city burning money to generate electricity

A power plant in Luoyang, Henan in China is generating power through the burning of bank notes.

Vincent De Rivaz

De Rivaz confident on Hinkley despite Areva problems

Vincent De Rivaz, chief executive of EDF, Reassured the audience at the Nuclear Industry Association’s annual conference t...
Peterhead power plant, which experienced start-up issues last week

One in ten UK power plants suffer ‘issues’ during start-up

The recent mixed results from National Grid's Supplementary Balancing Reserve (SBR) has much to do with the ageing profile...
Kangdong Thermal Power Plant

Coal-fired power plant under construction in North Korea

The North Korean government is attempting to address its chronic power shortage problems through the construction of a coa...

PEI Magazine Issues



>> Current Issue           >> Past Issues

Latest Wire News

Con Edison to Report 2014 Earnings on February 19

Con Edison to Report 2014 Earnings on February 19

New Jersey Residents Are Invited to the 1st Energy Resiliency Next Generation Forum on Tuesday, January 27 at Mercer Oaks in Princeton Junction From 6-8 pm

New Jersey Residents Are Invited to the 1st Energy Resiliency Next Generation Forum on Tuesd...

Tinius Olsen Launches New ST Series - Advanced Electromechanical Universal Testing Machines

Tinius Olsen Launches New ST Series - Advanced Electromechanical Universal Testing Machines

BTJ Consulting LLC President & Founder Michael Hanberry to Be Interviewed on Clear Channel - iHeart Business Talk Radio's "The Trader's Network" on January 24th, 2015

BTJ Consulting LLC President & Founder Michael Hanberry to Be Interviewed on Clear Channel -...

Magnum Hunter Resources Schedules Conference Call to Discuss Macro Events Affecting the Energy Sector and Company Specifics

Magnum Hunter Resources Schedules Conference Call to Discuss Macro Events Affecting the Ener...


Editorial Guides

How to cut your OPEX

How to cut your OPEX In a constantly evolving electricity market, factors such as over capacity and low coal costs can pu...

Alstom Editorial Guide: Thailand to showcase latest upgrade of Alstom's GT26 in combined-cycle

Read all about Alstom's new advanced GT26 gas turbine in the North Bangkok CCPP expansion project online with the Power En...

PLEXOS® Integrated Energy Model – Leading the Field in Energy Market Modelling

PLEXOS® Integrated Energy Modelling is an advanced software tool that employs the latest mathematical programming methods ...

Buyers Guide Companies

ComRent International LLC

Offers rentals, sales, and services of load banks for testing generators...

Advanced Energy

Advanced Energy is a global leader in innovative power and control techn...

Fluid Energy Controls Inc

ACOEM AB

ACOEM is a supplier of Fixturlaser's innovative and user-friendly equipm...

CCI Thermal Technologies Inc

A leader in the development and manufacturing of industrial heating and ...

AKG of America Inc

AKG is a worldwide design leader and manufacturer of high performance co...

Acromag Inc

CU Services LLC

Manufactures plug resistant orifices for steam line drains, recirculatio...

FLSmidth Inc

Designs and supplies pneumatic conveying systems for power, cement, and ...

Frenzelit North America Inc

Frenzelit manufactures fabric, rubber, and metallic expansion joints. F...

Buyers Guide Products

Bore Measurement

Typical applications are full bore measure...

Fixturlaser NXA Pro

This laser alignment system features many ...

Expansion Joints

Braden Exhaust Expansion Joints provide a ...

PARTS & FILTERS

Braden is uniquely qualified to provide ou...

Exhaust Systems

Leader in Exhaust Bypass, Simple Cycle, Ex...

HydroJet®-Retractable Boiler Cleaning System

A major breakthrough in furnace water clea...

IK-700® - Retractable Sootblower

Designed specifically for low maintenance,...

RETROFIT

Braden's retrofit strengths are divided in...

Air Filtration

Braden filtration offers a wide range of f...

Spare parts manufacturing / Re-engineering / CNC / CMM / Machining / workshop service

CMM/laser scanning technology (workshop, r...

Power Engineering International

Whitepapers

Understanding Moisture Dynamics in Power Transformers

In this webinar recording "Moisture Dynamics in Power Transformers" (held originally in September 23, 2014) you will have a chance to learn about the phenomena and its importance to your ...

How to lower your total cost of ownership on DC Control Power

In this whitepaper, we look at implementing battery management solutions and how smart battery management effectively lowers the total cost of DC Control power systems and the risk of their failure...

Portfolio Optimization by PLEXOS

To achieve Portfolio Optimization, PLEXOS performs the Security Constrained Unit Commitment and Economic Dispatch using Mixed Integer Programming (MIP) to minimize a cost function subject to all op...

Evaluating cogeneration for your facility: A look at the potential energy-efficiency, economic and environmental benefits

The energy-efficiency, economic and environmental benefits of cogeneration are the subject of this in-depth white paper. The paper argues that producing electricity and heat/cooling from the same f...

The Effect of Moisture on the Breakdown Voltage of Transformer Oil

Power transformers utilize oil as a heat transfer medium and a dielectric material, together with cellulose. Breakdown voltage (dielectric strength) is one of the most important parameters of trans...

Improving Mission Critical Cooling Systems With More Reliable Level Sensing

The choice of coolant level sensor may seem like an insignificant detail when designing complex machinery such as emergency generators and cranes, but if this sensor fails, the operator has no warn...

Steps Towards a Low Carbon Future: Solutions and Technologies That Will Support the Global Revolution Required

A smart grid is becoming more and more essential as clean energy becomes more dominant. In addition, the demand for electricity is expected to treble the ability to supply it over the next decade. ...

Latest Digital Edition

  Power
  Engineering
  International
Look Inside >
Cover
Current Issue

Article Archives for Power Engineering International Magazine

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>