Energy sector hit hardest by successful cyber-attacks

Over three-quarters (77 percent) of IT professionals say that they have experienced a rise in cyber-attacks in the past 12 months.

Tripwire conducted a study of 150 IT pros from the energy, utilities and oil and gas industries which discovered that 78 percent of respondents said they experienced a cyber-attack from an external source and 30 percent have seen an attack from an insider in the past 12 months.

Nearly half (44 percent) of respondents noted that they haven't collected enough information in order to identify where the cyber-attacks on their organisations came from.

Energy executives were more than twice as likely to believe that their organisation detected every cyber-attack (43 percent) than non-executives (17 percent). According to the US Department of Homeland Security, the energy sector experiences more cyber-attacks than any other industry.

“It's tempting to believe that this increase in attacks is horizontal across industries, but the data shows that energy organisations are experiencing a disproportionately large increase when compared to other industries,” said Tim Erlin, director of IT security and risk strategy for Tripwire. “At the same time, energy organisations face unique challenges in protecting industrial control systems and SCADA assets.”

Another survey conducted by Tripwire studied 200 security pros at the 2016 RSA Conference. Eighty-three percent of respondents said that a cyber-attack would cause physical damage to critical infrastructure in 2016.