When the lights go out: increasing cyber-espionage and disruption in energy industries (part 1).

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In 2019, the energy industry ranked as number one target for cyberattacks (and continued to be an increasing heavily targeted sector), with around 16% of all attacks occurring in this sector, as figure 1 shows1. To understand this apparent threat, it is crucial to know both the hunter and the prey. Examining both enables one to see and appreciate the value of the industry to adversaries. The reasons for adversaries to target the energy industry are even broader-ranged and more complex than for example the agriculture– or maritime industry. What’s different about the energy sector is that it’s interconnected with almost all other industries and even society as a whole. The energy sector literally fuels all industrial, IT and administrative processes. As a result, it plays a key role in many of the current geopolitical, economic and environmental issues, as well as military conflict situations. For adversaries, gaining access to a country’s energy grid or supply, which has a crippling effect on the ability to wage war or even run society as a whole, is like hitting the jackpot. It’s no surprise then that the energy sector is considered critical infrastructure.

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