How is the transmission pipeline industry guarding against cyber threats?

We’ve all heard reports of banks being hacked, businesses having their networks held ransom, and individuals being the victims of identity theft. What was once only a topic for science fiction movies is now a real concern.

Cybersecurity is a top-of-mind concern among police forces, industry groups and governments. In fact, top police chiefs around the world have identified cybercrime as one of the most serious criminal threats facing all of us in the future.

But industries, including the transmission pipeline industry, are fighting back. CEPA members understand that cybersecurity threats are real, and are working hard to constantly improve programs so that they can continue to safely and responsibly deliver the energy Canadians use every day.

Cybersecurity refers to technologies, processes and practices specifically designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack. In the case of transmission pipeline companies, highly sophisticated computer programs are used by control rooms to monitor pipelines and control the flow of products through them. These must be protected so that no one can interfere with the flow of oil and gas or a company’s ability to monitor the safe operation of the pipeline.

CEPA members understand the threat posed by breaches to their systems and networks, and are always looking to continuously improve their systems to protect Canada’s energy supply. CEPA recently held a seminar featuring some of the top experts in the field from industry, law enforcement and government to help members and industry leaders identify ways that they can use current leading practices in their operations. CEPA members also participate in a security working group that brings industry together to collaborate on how to best protect transmission pipelines from potential threats, including cyber threats.

“Our Board is concerned about cyber security, especially when it seems like every day you see someone holding some company to ransom with threats to release information stored on their own computer systems,” says CEPA’s Director of Safety and Engineering.

At the seminar, a number of experts provided best practices and outlined how education and training is important for everyone, including citizens and industry, to fight back against cybercrime.

CEPA members take this issue extremely seriously. Cyber-attacks can cost our economy billions of dollars annually, according to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Our members are fully aware of the risks, and are committed to collaborating and sharing information to battle this no-longer new, but increasingly worrisome threat.