It’s becoming more common these days to hear about cyberattacks in the Middle East’s oil and gas sector. Just this past August alone, two of the region’s oil and gas giants were hit by viruses that caused them to go offline for days. A malware attack against Saudi Aramco forced the world’s largest oil company to take down its companywide office systems for 12 days. Soon after, RasGas, the second largest producer of Qatari LNG after Qatar Petroleum, was hit by an “unknown virus” that took the company offline.
The daunting part is that these attacks are becoming more sophisticated over time. Usually, these types of viruses are designed to steal highly sensitive competitive information and gather intelligence like design documents and assets from oil and gas companies. As a result, cyberdefense is becoming a top development priority in the Middle East; Saudi Arabia plans to invest $3.3 billion in oil and gas infrastructure security, with others soon to follow.
Cyberattacks are one of many trends shaping IT spending in the region’s oil and gas sector. We’ve also been seeing more IT spending going to:
Information management. Over the years, oil and gas companies that have to deal with unpredictable oil prices have limited their hiring of new employees, which has contributed to the industry’s skill shortages. As a result, oil and gas companies are constantly seeking information management tools to increase the utilization of their current employees’ expertise.