A cyberattack on Italian contractor Saipem in the Middle East has raised a worrying question: is digital infrastructure in the construction industry more vulnerable than ever before?
The oil and gas firm was hit by the Shamoon disk-wrecking virus, the same malware that struck Saudi Aramco in 2012. While an investigation into the extent of the damage is ongoing, Saipem said the hack caused an undisclosed amount of data to be deleted, forcing the company to partially shut down operations as it dealt with the ramifications of the breach.
In this episode of Construction Week Viewpoint, the threat of cyberattacks to construction companies is discussed by regular hosts Oscar Rousseau and Jack Ball. While there is no hard data to say with empirical certainty that cyberattacks are rising or falling, the need to protect infrastructure from hackers remains critical.
Following the hack, business development manager at Parsons, Stephen O’Connor, told Construction Week that protecting critical infrastructure from the growing threat of cyber “does not have easy software-based solutions”.
“A top-tier oil and gas player like Saipem will have software-based countermeasures in place, and judging from their response so far, robust data loss protection and business continuity safeguards as well,” he added.
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