As oil and gas companies use more devices at the edge of their networks for automation in industrial processes, bad actors can significantly damage the infrastructure. This can lead to shutdowns of oil and gas plants and interruptions in extraction, delivery, and refining processes. Despite increased investments into the oil and gas industry cybersecurity solutions to protect its edge environment, traditional cloud-based security solutions are resource intensive and inefficient in handling the growing threats and vulnerabilities across digital technologies and edge devices.
Existing cybersecurity tooling relies on cloud computing and often requires data to be sent to third-party for inspection; this potentially puts the edge infrastructure at risk. Also, the cellular-connected edge devices require forensic and telemetry data to be sent to the cloud for processing, which increases bandwidth requirements with additional expenses. These combined make it less than ideal for highly distributed edge devices in the oil and gas industry.
New threats across the oil and gas sector include spoofing attacks, Denial of Service incidents, and command injections. For example, these threats involve data manipulation from level control sensors to mislead operators and control systems, presenting false efficiency levels. Additionally, attackers exploit network weaknesses, overloading systems with random instructions to shut down processes.
These threats have been more persistent and focused, with increased intensity and precision in their targeting. Utilizing artificial intelligence models, cyberattacks have become harder to identify, putting critical edge infrastructure at risk. Furthermore, advanced persistent threat groups are also employing AI to launch attacks on major public companies within the oil and gas sector.