Former CIA Chief: Oil and Gas Companies Most Exposed to Cyber Threats

Michael Hayden says the Internet is a digital free-fire zone

By on March 11th, 2013 19:41 GMT

Speaking at the IHS CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and the NSA, told an audience that energy companies, particularly those from the oil and gas sector, were exposed to serious threats from cyberspace.

According to fuelFire, Hayden highlighted the fact that the Internet was ungoverned.

“In addition to being the digital global commons it’s a digital free-fire zone,” he said.

Oil and gas companies are particularly at risk because they rely heavily on automated processes. On the other hand, since it’s nearly impossible to block access to these systems, the former CIA chief believes that organizations should focus on developing strategies to deal with the effects of an attack.

“They will penetrate your network. You can make it harder. You can make it more expensive. You can make it more robust. But they’re going to penetrate,” Hayden added.

He warns that a breach in the systems of energy organizations could have serious consequences, including the loss of human lives.

Hayden believes the solution is to develop policies that would clarify the government’s role in Internet security.

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Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and the NSA
   Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and the NSA