The utilities and oil and gas industries represent critical parts of the U.S. economy and infrastructure but are becoming more vulnerable to security threats, according to reports from outside experts. The sectors are vulnerable to malicious actors from within and from nonstate actors and terrorists abroad, according to a series of recent reports on the state of security in those industries. Further, the vulnerabilities highlighted make plain that the utilities and oil and gas sectors could be doing more to shore up their defenses.
According to a report from consulting firm PwC, The Global State of Information Security Survey 2015, there were 5,493 detected security incidents directed against the oil and gas sector in 2014, and 7,391 against the utilities industry.
PwC notes that attacks against these sectors can carry a large financial cost. The report states that ¬security incidents in the power and utilities sector cause $1.2 million in financial losses on average, and for the oil and gas sector the figure is even higher, at $4 million.
The threat is real, but the oil and gas and utilities industries do not seem to be spending a great deal of money to counter cyberattacks. According to PwC, companies in the utilities industry spend an average of $3.7 million per year on information security, and oil and gas firms spend $5.7 million annually, on average.
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