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Energy sector facing severe malware risk: Cisco

Cisco Annual Security Report places energy sector in top five most targeted industries

Energy sector facing severe malware risk: Cisco
Dabboussi: Malware can cripple an energy company's IT infrastructure and halt business operations

The global energy sector is among the top five most-targeted industries by cyber-criminals, according to the 2014 Cisco Annual Security Report.

Speaking ahead of the GISEC security expo this week, the vendor said that the energy sector faces a malware encounter rate that is 300% higher than the median industry.

Much of these risks are being driven by the sector's use of the Internet of Everything, with oil & gas firms in particular using technology to connect global operations, automate dangerous tasks, and manage complex supply chains, Cisco said.

"The Middle East's energy sector is rapidly adopting smart devices and cloud computing to enhance business, but this is also creating a larger landscape for cyber-security threats," said Rabih Dabboussi, general manager of Cisco UAE.

"Malware can cripple an energy company's IT infrastructure and halt business operations, and potentially disrupt the world's energy supplies."

In 2013, Cisco noted ‘watering hole' attacks on energy exploration firms, power stations, industrial suppliers, and investment and capital firms around the world. A watering hole attack is when a cyber-criminal aims to infect a company's server, and subsequently transmit malware to devices that access the server.

Cisco said that to help mitigate these types of threats, it had expanded its Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) and Data Centre solutions, which now use elements of Sourcefire technology that Cisco acquired last year.

"Cisco has extensive experience in providing the connectivity platform for the energy sector's operators and suppliers to improve planning and safety, support ICT deployment, and enhance downtime," said Dabboussi.

"Delivering vital cyber-security solutions to the energy sector enhances our support to ensure that global energy supplies remain in safe hands."

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