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Security Initiative to Reduce Cyber Attacks in Natural Gas

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Did you know that the natural gas industry is constantly being targeted by hackers? In response American Gas Association (AGA) has sprung into action by creating a new initiative known as the Downstream Natural Gas Information Sharing and Analysis Center (DNG-ISAC). This collaborative tool allows natural gas utilities in the US to share information about attempted or implemented cyber or physical attacks.
 
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So why does this initiative work so well? It’s sort of like the Twitter of the natural gas community. If something important is happening, information about it can be spread at lightning speed. Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of AGA, understands the importance of sharing cyber threat information. In a press release by AGA he stated, “Information-sharing is a fundamental pillar of a robust cyber and physical defense effort.”
 
There are currently more than a dozen Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACS) in a variety of industries. Companies that are in combined industries of natural gas and electrics will be allowed to access the DNG-ISAC.
 
Why is natural gas a target?
 
Cyber attacks on US natural gas utility systems could wreak havoc on the country’s national defense making the US more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Unfortunately the numbers of attacks are shocking. In 2012 the department of Homeland Security reported that 40% of the malicious software-attack cases were targeting energy companies including those in the oil and gas industry.
 
On February 12, 2013 President Obama signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to share cyber threat information with private companies and to create a cyber security system to help reduce the number of cyber attacks. This helped to give birth to the DNG-ISAC. The AGA also chairs the Cyber Security Working Group for the Oil & Natural Gas Sector Coordinating Council, an operators’ forum backed by the U.S. Department of Energy in close contact with the US Department of Homeland Security.
 
Who’s footing the bill?
 
The members of the center are paying for the initiative. As of May, AGA had commitments from 17 gas utilities who understand the importance of protecting their natural gas supplies. The 177 million Americans who rely on natural gas to meet their daily needs will appreciate it too.
 
If you are looking for ways to reduce the risk of cyber attacks at your company, check out five ways to recognize a phishing email.
 

TNphoto Tatsuya Nakagawa
Tatsuya Nakagawa is the VP of Marketing and co-founder of Castagra Products, a storage tank and wastewater coatings manufacturing company that is highly acclaimed for its sustainable coatings, cold weather tank coating applications, and its durable frac tank coatings. Castagra is used by the world’s top oil and gas field services companies.