Oil companies hit by cyber attacks

FBI says three major U.S. oil producers got hacked. This time it's IT networks, but could manufacturing be a next step?

01/28/2010


Recently the FBI told three U.S. oil companies that they'd been hacked. Marathon, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips had their IT systems violated and proprietary information was being siphoned out. Some apparently was going to China. Most of the information involved exploration and oil discovery efforts.

The Christian Science Monitor goes into more detail on the story, including descriptions of the "phishing" and "spear phishing" techniques the infiltrators used to gain access. It also says that the companies didn't understand the depth of the attacks until the FBI filled them in.

While the hackers seemed to stay in what we would consider to be IT networks, those places can be the jumping-off point for attacks on SCADA and plant control systems. Moving into the next part of the network is much easier when the hackers are working from an established beach head. This also reminds us why it is so important to have appropriate barriers installed at all the points where manufacturing and IT systems interface.

You can find many cyber security resources at Control Engineering's Website, including a podcast with Ed Skoudis who was interviewed in the Christian Science Monitor story.

See the whole podcast catalog .

Read the Control Engineering industrial control system cyber security blog .

Read Applying Security Defense-in-Depth .

 

-Peter Welander, process industries editor, PWelander@cfemedia.com
Control Engineering Process & Advanced Control Monthly eNewsletter
Register here to select your choice of free eNewsletters .





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.