While the plant engineering sector is an important consumer of industrial cybersecurity hardware, software and services, capital expenditure has been curtailed in the oil and gas sector by the decline in oil prices and the related plunge in oil company revenues. In spite of this situation, regulation and the threat of further legislation have served to support the case for investment. In a strategically critical sector, the oil and gas infrastructure should be one of the most secure; however, many of its systems are poorly protected against cyber threats. Meanwhile, the number and sophistication of industrial cybersecurity attacks is increasing and raising the likelihood of serious intrusion and loss.
Developments in the world of industrial control -- including the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), cloud-based services, as well as Industrie 4.0 and other developments in the world of automation -- have also focused attention on cybersecurity. The rollout speed of this technology may depend on users’ confidence in its security (i.e. if the benefits will be outweighed by an increase in vulnerability).
While Industry 4.0 / IIoT greatly enhances the capability of industrial control communications, it is already increasing the worry of cyber attacks and the challenge of keeping devices secure. Long lifecycles in manufacturing industries may lead to slow evolution in control technology and with it a mix of new and legacy systems. Understanding the security considerations of legacy protocols and systems will continue to be important.
Moderator: Bob Vavra, Content Manager, Plant Engineering