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Symantec discusses the importance of cyber security in the oil and gas sector

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Oilfield Technology,

With oil and gas revenues playing a vital role in Iraq’s economy, protecting of the critical infrastructure of oil and gas operations in Iraq and Kurdistan is crucial for the industry to continue to drive progress in the region.

Having recognised this importance, the10th Iraq Petroleum Conference is hosting the Security Day on the 23rd of May at the Hilton Park Lane, where the Government of Iraq and representatives of the National Security teams will be joining security service providers and international oil and gas operators to find solutions to help build a safer oil and gas industry in Iraq and Kurdistan Region.

CWC Group Director, Nawar Abdulhadi conducted a pre-event interview with one of the featured industry leaders Giampiero Nanni, the government affairs specialist in cyber security and resilience at symantec corporation who will discuss the threat landscape (See latest Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report for more information) and provide a view of the measures that the oil and gas industry can adopt. In the interview, Mr Nanni highlights the cyber threats to the region’s infrastructure and the importance of debate and raising awareness of these issues towards finding successful solutions.

Nawar Abdulhadi: What do you see as the biggest threats to the Iraqi and Kurdistan oil and gas industry in terms of cyber security?

Giampiero Nanni: We had numerous examples over the years, and around the world, of critical infrastructure being targeted through cyber attacks. Some extremely sophisticated, perpetrated by well-resourced groups, often state-sponsored.

The oil and gas industry is among the most targeted in this respect, for intellectual property espionage (e.g. to steal information about oilfields or exploitation technologies), personal data theft, and sabotage. There have been numerous instances of severe physical damage inflicted through cyber attacks. Often, Industrial Control Systems are unprepared to sustain the latest hacking tactics. Especially in situations where the geo-political circumstances are unstable, these kinds of attacks should be expected, also because they can be carried-out effectively and without physical exposure, by remote perpetrators.

N.A: What issues will you be addressing at the Security Day?

G.N:I will discuss the threat landscape and provide an overview of the measures that oil and gas industry can adopt in terms of security posture, in order to minimise vulnerabilities and the exposure to cyber risk, and maximise the ability to respond and recover when cyber incidents happen.

N.A: Who do you think should attend the event?

G.N:In every vertical, cyber security is a political and business issue, before being a technological one.

Only sound leadership can instil and cascade a proper security posture to the organisation. I therefore believe that this discussion should be joined by leaders and decision makers, both political and from the boardroom, for them to take away the vital, strategic cyber security notions, to communicate to their organisations, and drive them towards an adequate cyber security attitude.

N.A: Which part of the eventare you most looking forward to?

G.N: he fact that cybersecurity is part of this debate. In order to fix a problem, this needs to be recognised as such by visionary leaders, and this is clearly the case for this Conference.

N.A: Why do you think this meeting is so important for the industry?

G.N:In an uncertain world-wide and regional general climate, both from the geo-political and energy industry points of view, it is important to restore confidence for investors, operators, and governments. The event will undoubtedly contribute to a renewed confidence. Hopefully the cyber security industry can relieve these stakeholders from the cyber-threats worries: cyber security is here to be trusted by the industry players, and its mission is to enable them to move forward in developing business with confidence and focus on what matters to achieve their objectives.

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Adapted from a press release by Louise Mulhall

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