Cyber attacks are miners latest major threat

Cyber attacks are miners latest major threatMining companies are facing an alarming rise of cyber-attacks threats as they cut costs, rely more on the Internet, automate equipment, and run mines remotely, a new study by Ernst & Young shows.

The survey, conducted among nearly 40 mining and metal companies and published Wednesday, reveals that 41% of respondents has experienced more external attempts of hacking during the past year.

The participants believed to be behind cyber-attacks had also broadened, to include national governments, the report says.

“It was once thought that hackers were rebellious young students who would target symbols of authority as a protest and a reflection of their technological prowess (…) The list of cyber adversaries has grown to include criminals, national governments and hacktivists, and their target list has likewise grown,” Ernst & Young’s report shows.

Commodity prices

It is not just a company’s sensible information what is at risk with the new sort of danger coming from Internet sources, but also the prices of particular commodities, when cyber-attacks cause disruptions at key mine sites.

“Criminals are attracted to the sector because of the massive cash flows,” says the advisory firm in its report.

The most vulnerable companies are small to mid-sized miners who produce strategic metals, such as rare earths, tin and tungsten, rather than the mega miners, who have tightened security in their systems over the past few years. For the later is now “a real life battle.”

Canada lagging behind

While 53% of the Canadian firms included in the study said they had increased their security budget over the last year, 29% of them reported an increase in security incidents over the last 12 months

“Canadian companies acknowledge the threat of known cyber risks, but they’re comparatively conservative in the way they’re tackling that threat,” says Rafael Etges, EY’s Information Security practice leader in Toronto. “It’s not so much about handling what’s happening right now, but uncovering the still hidden or unknown cyber threats that are right around the corner, and planning accordingly.”

Cyber attacks are miners latest major threat

Source: Ernst & Young, 2013.

The survey finds Canada is lagging behind most developed economies in terms of innovation, and trails emerging economies such as Latin America and Asia. Etges pegs this to a mix of factors, including risk appetite, market and culture.

The good news is that unlike their global counterparts, Canadian respondents name overall cyber security/threats as a top priority in the next 12 months.

Full report available here

Image by scyther5/

2154 3


  • More Europe News