Cyber-attacks rank ninth in the top 10 business risks for mining and metal businesses, 11 places above last year’s results, according to the “Business risks in mining and metals 2015-2016” report by accountancy firm EY.
The report shows widespread and sophisticated cyber-attacks are a common issue across the mining and metals sector regardless of size or scale, even though not all of them target financial gain. Being a victim of any form of attack can cost a mining or metals company millions of dollars in lost production, create health and safety issues on site, or cause massive reputational damage by leaking confidential/stakeholder unfriendly information, respondents said.
These are the key threats to the mining and metals sector, according to the report:
- The convergence of IT and operational technology (OT) creating more gateways for cyber attack
- Historic under-investment
- Current spending trends mean a lower security budget without consideration for increasing risk
- An understanding of whether the organization has been breached as this is often undetected or detected late
Researchers say the convergence of IT and OT represents an opportunity to enhance cybersecurity around OT because of the increase in forma measures around OT and the inheritance of the IT security protocols. Recent studies have shown that the increasing integration of IT into once-isolated operations technology systems is one of the top three threat vectors found by security professionals.
Lack of agility, budget, and skills are the main internal issues mining and metal businesses face in fighting cybersecurity threats. Some 46% have no security operations center, and 42% have no threat intelligence program. Moreover, one in five has no information security strategy.
“Information and operational security needs to be a board level priority and managed from the top down. Cybersecurity needs to feature on the corporate level risk register and to be integrated in the ERP,” the authors of the study say. “It’s not just about systems – an approach is needed that includes threat and risk-based implementation of people, processes and technology capabilities to develop a resilient cybersecurity environment.”