The UK’s energy sector is at serious risk of a crippling cyber attack on its infrastructure, the head of the World Energy Council has claimed.
Speaking to City AM, director general of the council, Christopher Frei, claimed that the UK was not the only country in danger.
“In the last two years this issue has really come close to – if not to the top of – the issues keeping energy leaders awake at night. So cyber is a very big issue for energy infrastructure,” he told the paper.
However, the seriousness of the issue is being underestimated by lawmakers and energy officials alike, he confirmed.
The World Energy Council’s annual report released last month also highlighted the problem from cyberspace. It is now ranked as the number one issue in terms of ‘uncertainty’ facing the industry in the UK.
The report claimed:
“Since the last report, UK energy security has seen a marked refocusing on to non-industry-related external threats such as those from terrorism and cyber attacks, whether individual or state-sponsored.”
The problems affecting Ukrainian power suppliers over Christmas have shown the damage that a well targeted cyber attack can cause.
Tens of thousands of homes in the west of the country were said to have gone without power following the incident.
Jon Geater, CTO at cybersecurity firm Thales e-Security, argued that it’s vital robust security is put in place to safeguard the UK’s critical infrastructure.
“As ‘software eats the world’ and everything becomes data driven – even those things made of concrete, steel and flesh – we need to adapt our data protection strategies to fit the nuanced needs of these newly digital industries,” he added.
“To achieve the future smart and green connected cities that we want at the speed we want them they must reuse what the IT industry has already provided, both on-premise or increasingly in the cloud. That means that without expert adaptation they get the same kinds of problems we’ve been seeing for years in IT, but more worryingly – in this example – with more serious repercussions if things go wrong.”
SOURCE: Phil Muncaster