Hackers have built a substantial web of fear that tends to intimidate the most powerful entities in the world. Feelings of trepidation and anxiety related to hackers are completely valid due to the devastating aftermath of a cyber attack. One of the most infamous corporate take-downs occurred in China in 2000. Chinese hackers breached the security of Nortel Networks, one of the largest and most powerful telecom equipment manufacturers in the world. By 2009, Nortel declared bankruptcy, which was the result of hackers selling corporate secrets to telecom competitors.
Hackers have the power to greatly affect the economy on local, national, and global levels. Oil and gas are counterparts of the energy industry with a substantial presence in our everyday lives. Similar to other sizeable industries, oil and gas network systems are at great risk for potential cyber attacks. There is an immeasurable amount of information that is constantly being transferred with hackers looking for an inevitable weakness or opening to gain access to this wealth of information.
What Hackers Do
The sole intent of hackers is to breach network securities, email servers, and web servers to gain access to information that is often intended to be confidential. They utilize specialty software to find overlooked loopholes or weaknesses that will ultimately compromise virtually any type of security measure. Hackers collect information for a number of reasons, with exploitation being the primary purpose of hacking into a system. Hackers can attack on an individual basis, but they are more interested in the challenge associated with authoritative entities and larger corporations. Hacking into a massive network system can cause widespread “hidden” destruction to a corresponding economy.
McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, released a report with some disturbing numbers. In the United States, over 500,000 jobs are lost on an annual basis due to corporate espionage initiated by hackers. Furthermore, the report revealed that hackers cost the US a staggering $100 billion per year in costs related to security, purchasing insurance, and repairing corporate reputations following a cyber attack. Hackers are a powerful force to be reckoned with, and the energy industry is a likely target due to the amount of information constantly being transferred.
Read more next week on our thoughts on this important topic.