“Cyber threats are among top issues keeping energy leaders awake at night.”
So says Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council on the day that WEC releases a report intro the cyber threat to power companies.
It concludes that addressing cyber risks in the energy sector is not only critical to energy security, but is also vital for a resilient state and economy.
The report also highlights that energy companies have seen a massive increase in the number of successful cyber-attacks over the past year.
The WEC states that “the critical role that the energy sector plays in the functioning of a modern economy, with its increasing interconnection and digitisation, with the emergence of smart grids and smart devices, make the energy sector a highly attractive target for cyber-attacks aimed at disrupting operations.
“In a worst case scenario these attacks can result in infrastructure shut down, triggering economic and financial disruptions or even loss of life and massive environmental damage.”
The report, ‘The road to resilience: managing and financing cyber risks’, is published in collaboration with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and Marsh & McLennan Companies, was launched today at the Energy Day in Berlin.
It examines how cyber risks can be managed taking into account the changing nature of the energy industry and energy infrastructure.
Frei said that “over the past three years, we have seen a rapid change from zero awareness to headline presence” on cybersecurity. “As a result, more than 30 countries have put in place ambitious cyber plans and strategies, considering cyber threats as a persistent risk to their economy.
“What makes cyber threats so dangerous is that they can go unnoticed until the real damage is clear, from stolen data over power outages to destruction of physical assets and great financial loss. Over the coming years we expect cyber risks to increase further and change the way we think about integrated infrastructure and supply chain management.”
The report is being discussed in Berlin in advance of the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul on 10-13 October.
Jeroen van der Veer, former chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, said: “The energy sector must take a systemic approach and assess cyber risks across the entire energy supply chain, improve the protection of energy systems and limit any possible domino effects that might be caused by a failure in one element of the value chain. Nevertheless, measures that require supply chain compliance or cross-border cooperation are more difficult to implement, and require increased cross-sector cooperation.”