Content, Vertical markets

Energy Ecosystem Companies Unite to Defend Against Cyber Attackers

Three pipelines

Some 18 global companies in the oil and gas industry ecosystem have pledged to work together to prevent cyber attacks like the one that hit Colonial Pipeline last year and others that have blasted into critical infrastructure elsewhere.

In recognizing that more collective preparedness is needed between them to thwart malicious actors, the companies have taken a Cyber Resilience Pledge at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 in Switzerland. It marked the first time the conglomerates have elected to work together on cyber issues and represents a major change from prior go-it-alone cyber defense strategies.

The pledge aims to mobilize global commitment towards strengthening cyber resilience across industry ecosystems. Organizations endorsing the pledge commit to collaborating and taking collective action on cyber resilience. Cyberattacks on U.S. and on European oil facilities in February 2022 forced the facilities to operate at limited capacity, causing huge industry and civilian disruption. In the past two years, the U.S. has taken major steps to fortify critical infrastructure preparedness against cyber attackers, including passing legislation.

The organizations that have taken the pledge are: Aker ASA, Aker BP, Aramco, Check Point Software Technologies, Claroty, Cognite, Dragos, Ecopetrol, Eni, EnQuest, Galp, Global Resilience Federation, Maire Tecnimont, Occidental Petroleum, OT-ISAC, Petronas, Repsol and Suncor.

“First endorsed by key CEOs in the oil and gas value chain, the Cyber Resilience Pledge is a landmark step as it signals recognition of the complexities of building a cyber-resilient industry ecosystem and a commitment towards collective action to achieve it,” said Alexander Klimburg, Head, Centre for Cybersecurity, World Economic Forum.

“As the world deepens its digital footprint, cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated,” said Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco, a Saudi Arabian public petroleum and natural gas company that also participated in the pledge. “But one company, working alone, is effectively like locking the front gate while leaving the back door wide open,” he said.

The pledge follows the inaugural meeting of cyber coordinators of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in which they discussed the global cyber landscape amid the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, Russian aggression, and Sweden and Finland’s request for membership.

Attendees included ambassadors, academia, and experts from the international cyber and defense community to promote excellence in research and innovation in Romania, where the meeting took place, and integrate it regionally and internationally in cyber research. The meeting served as a precursor to the NATO Summit scheduled for June in Spain.

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.