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The Cyber Threat To the Global Oil Supply 123

Posted by samzenpus
from the change-your-password dept.
Lasrick writes "Blake Clayton has an excellent piece on the cyber threat to the global oil supply. His description of the August attack on Saudi Aramco, which rendered thirty thousand of its computers useless, helps make his point. From the article: 'The future of energy insecurity has arrived. In August, a devastating cyber attack rocked one of the world’s most powerful oil companies, Saudi Aramco, Riyadh’s state-owned giant, rendering thirty thousand of its computers useless. This was no garden-variety breach. In the eyes of U.S. defense secretary Leon Panetta, it was “probably the most destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date.”'"
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The Cyber Threat To the Global Oil Supply

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  • by HermMunster (972336) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @09:42PM (#41953289)

    Yet another attempt at FUD to get the American people to accept higher gas prices. Yet another way for them to arbitrarily increase gas prices even though there's plenty available.

  • Da Vinci (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Mage Balthazar (708812) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @10:03PM (#41953389)
    Unless 5 million dollars are transferred to the following numbered account in 7 days, I will capsize 5 tankers in the Ellingson fleet.
  • by nschubach (922175) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @10:15PM (#41953447) Journal

    Ah, the War on Cybercrime ... yeah, we need another faceless War. /sarcasm

  • by _greg (130136) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @10:28PM (#41953497)

    Once again Terrorists are forcing companies to use operating systems and other software well-known to be insecure on critical servers! You will know these Terrorists because of their distinctive clothing: Ties and Business Suits, which are never worn by software and security specialists. Alas, there may be nothing we can do to counter this Terrorist Threat as the Terrorists seem to have taken over our Corporate Boardrooms.

    But there's no cause for alarm: everyone knows that the more you pay for software the more secure it is, right? And we can always retaliate against any Cyberattacks, unless of course they come from Botnets installed on our own citizens' computers.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @10:40PM (#41953557)

    Yet another attempt at FUD to get the American people to accept higher gas prices.

    Nonsense. This is an attempt at FUD to get the American people to accept higher defense spending.

  • Maybe one day... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dnaumov (453672) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @10:45PM (#41953583)

    ... they will learn to not have critical infrastructure accessible via the Internet?

    One can only hope.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @10:53PM (#41953643)
    and gas prices... and more intrusive government supervision of the internet...
  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @11:01PM (#41953667)

    a attack can still jump the network by copying it self to the remove media used to make the jump. Or attack the data to go after the app.

  • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @11:13PM (#41953727) Homepage Journal
    Not that I'm applauding the actions of hackers (legitimate or otherwise). Nor am I suggesting that we should all do our best to bring Down The Saudis (or anyone/everyone else involved in Oil production, for that matter).

    Having raised all those caveats, however: Is THIS not good for everyone in the long term?

    Those who were attacked will update their systems, those who rely on oil will rethink their policies. Maybe if we're really (really really really) lucky there'll be greater investment in energy solutions OTHER than fossil-fuels.

    I see a whole lot of SILVER LINING and not much dark stormcloud here.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @11:21PM (#41953773)

    I don't see the big deal. Citizens in other countries pay considerably more. Using http://www.whatprice.co.uk/petrol-prices/ [whatprice.co.uk] as a point of reference, the cheapest unleaded gasoline (petrol) is nearly 8 U.S. Dollars per U.S. gallon at the time of this post.

    The problem with the U.S. is that public transportation is not set up as it is in the UK and much of Europe, as many others have stated on other sites. Many U.S. citizens are forced to own motor vehicles or rely on someone who owns one to transport them where they need to go, unless they use a bicycle or walk, and neither is terribly feasible in my area.

    I know people who bike to work and complain often about nearly being hit by a driver who starts driving onto the shoulder and the route to take to work involves streets with a speed limit of 45 mph or more, not that it's respected anyway, especially in the wee hours of the morning. Bike lanes? They exist to an extent, but they're not widespread enough, and there isn't exactly sidewalk everywhere either. Simply put, a motor vehicle is the best option in the U.S., especially out in the country.

    Otherwise, I'd say raise the taxes to make us pay more for gas, and those who didn't like it would just use public transportation or find another way of getting where they need to go.

  • A Reality Check (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @11:21PM (#41953775) Homepage Journal
    The US Energy Information Administration [eia.gov] claims that the US dependence on oil from The Persian Gulf is approximately 22%, so even if they dropped off the face of the planet (ie immediately/suddenly, tomorrow) it would not make all that much of a difference.

    Sure it'd be a massive PITA for maybe as much as a month, then we'd all get over it and wonder what the fuss was about.
  • by quenda (644621) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @11:32PM (#41953823)

    > or is it part of some kind of war???

    Of course it is. And there is a lesson: People who live in glass houses should not throw Stuxnets.

  • Re:A Reality Check (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @11:48PM (#41953883)

    Also it frankly doesn't matter if the US didn't technically need any oil from the Persian Gulf. Oil is a fungible commodity which is extracted and sold by private companies. If world supply decreases anywhere in the world, the price is going to go up for everyone because those companies have no obligation to sell it to US consumers if say, Chinese consumers are bidding higher for it.

    Unless the US nationalized the oil industry in some way, it straight up doesn't matter from who the physical oil is actually coming because the usefulness and importance of oil is due to it's price as much as it's properties.

  • Re:How Useless? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fnord666 (889225) on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:24AM (#41954005) Journal

    What do they mean by useless? Windows wouldn't boot? or did the computers explode, or did the virus flash the bios with garbage, even then you could resolder a new bios chip on! Would be hard to make multiple computers completely useless!

    No, it cleaned off all of the crapware, adware and browser taskbars. The computers were finally able to boot into windows quickly, thus rendering them immediately useless.

  • by fast turtle (1118037) on Monday November 12, 2012 @01:13AM (#41954201) Journal

    and of that $8 per U.S. Gallon, 50 percent or more is parlimentary taxes. If you reduce the tax rate per gallon to what we pay in the United States, which is $0.14 cents, you'd understand why we are pissed at the Oil Companies because of the price of fuel, 90 percent of it goes to the oil company and every chance they get, they push the price up and tell us we're lucky we aint paying the same as in the EU and the rest of te world. No We aint because if we were, then the current $4.00 per gallon cost in my area would mean we're actually paying $2.00 per gallon for product with the remainder being taxes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @03:12AM (#41954593)

    What about the rural areas that make up 90% of this country? I should bike 40 miles to get to the grocery store... and then?

  • by Maow (620678) on Monday November 12, 2012 @04:56AM (#41954863) Journal

    Yet another attempt at FUD to get the American people to accept higher gas prices. Yet another way for them to arbitrarily increase gas prices even though there's plenty available.

    --
    You can lead a man with reason but you can't make him think.

    I like your signature.

    I love the irony of that signature appended to what constitutes your comment.

    You will eventually be paying more for fuel; either it goes to a) government taxes which can pay down debt or maintain / enhance infrastructure, or b) it goes to corporate profits / speculators' pockets.

    So, when BigOilCo(tm) gets a refinery / pipeline, etc. incapacitated such as this story refers to, gas prices will immediately increase. And only (maybe) return to initial price after newly refined fuel has flowed through the entire (repaired) system, and repairs have been paid for. Yay for speculators / corporate profits.

    Or, pay more in taxes, get better transit and fewer crumbling bridges, enjoy the uptick in economy from jobs created, and in future, rely less on BigOilCos.

    However, it's hardly arbitrary.

Money will say more in one moment than the most eloquent lover can in years.

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