The Evolving Threat Landscape in Tank Terminals

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The tank terminal industry has great importance in the world supply chain, holding and managing large amounts of products such as oil, gas, chemicals, and food-grade materials. The essential nature of this infrastructure makes it an attractive target for cyberattacks, increasing the distress of tank terminal companies in the changing threat environment.

In the past, tank terminals used air-gapped networks. This term refers to a condition where operational technology (OT) systems like tank controls and pipeline monitoring are kept away from the internet and business IT infrastructure. This physical isolation provided some safeguards against cyberattacks. But the move towards digitalization and rising connections has made the distinction between OT and IT less clear.

This coming together is a double-edged sword. It brings more efficiency and faraway monitoring abilities, but at the same time, it makes OT systems that were once isolated open to cyber dangers. This is where cybersecurity companies can play a vital role. Let’s delve deeper into the unique challenges tank terminals face in this ever-changing landscape.

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From Bunkering to Breaches: New Attack Vectors Emerge

The cyber-dangerous environment for tank terminals is always changing. Here are the main worries:

Targeted Attacks

The time for random spray-and-pray methods has passed. Cybercriminals now perform sophisticated attacks, usually aiming to disturb certain supply chains or inflict environmental harm.

SCADA Under Siege

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems form the heart of tank terminal activities, managing elements like tank levels and pipeline flow. These systems might be at risk from malware assaults that could disturb functionality, tamper with information, or lead to physical harm.

The Insider Threat

Employees who are unhappy or deceived through social engineering tricks are a major danger. They might have access to essential systems and an understanding of inside methods, making them important pieces for attackers.

Ransomware on the Rise

The risk of ransomware attacks is also a big worry. These attacks can lock up important data through encryption, making it impossible for tank terminal operators to continue their work until they pay large amounts as ransom.

The Internet of Leaky Tanks

The rising use of Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets in tank terminals for distant monitoring and automation creates fresh attack paths. These linked systems might possess fragile security rules, permitting attackers to enter the network.

Also, read Emerging Threats in the Landscape of Supply Chain Security

Human Factors and Regulations

Cybersecurity is not only about technology, but it also involves people and processes. Here are some more important elements:

The Human Element

It is very important to create a strong cybersecurity culture. Regular training programmes for employees are useful in helping them recognise phishing attempts and keep good password habits.

Physical Security

Physical security, which is often ignored, plays a very important role in the total cybersecurity. It relates to the protection of physical entrance into equipment and systems that keep or handle sensitive data. Tough physical security makes it more difficult for attackers to get unauthorized entry into a network and take data, install harmful software or disturb activities.

Balancing Safety and Security

It is very important to maintain the efficiency of operations, but strong cybersecurity actions must not come as an afterthought. Companies should discover a balance where safety is put first, and essential operations are not obstructed.

Regulatory Landscape

Regulatory bodies, particularly those concentrating on cybersecurity in crucial infrastructure fields such as tank terminals, are growing more important. It is necessary for companies to keep themselves updated on changing regulations and modify their security strategies accordingly.

Learning from Past Incidents

Regrettably, the tank terminal industry has already experienced the consequences of cyberattacks. In 2017, an attack using ransomware on a European tank terminal operator caused disruption in operations for several days and created substantial financial loss.

These events are strong notifications of what could happen because of cyberattacks. By examining the history, people who operate tank terminals can find weak points in their own systems and make active moves to reduce risks.

Building a Secure Future for Tank Terminals

In tank terminals, the changing danger environment needs a multi-faceted method for cybersecurity. These are important steps to think about:

Conduct Regular Security Assessments

Check the security stance of both OT and IT systems to find weak points and fix them quickly.

Implement Network Segmentation

Do network segmentation to separate important systems and stop attackers from getting into crucial infrastructure.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

Make sure that all user accounts have multi-factor authentication, which strengthens security by requiring more than just a password.

Develop a Cyber Incident Response Plan

Make a full plan that shows what actions to take if there is a cyber-attack, reducing time when the computer system cannot work, and making sure that the process of recovery happens fast.

Invest in Security Awareness Training

Train the workers at regular intervals about good ways to practise cybersecurity hygiene and methods to recognise and report doubtful actions.

Stay Informed on Emerging Threats

Sign up for trustworthy cybersecurity alerts and news to keep yourself updated on fresh dangers and possible weaknesses in the field.

A Collective Effort is Key

The safeguarding of tank terminals is not solely an individual company’s duty. Cooperation throughout the sector holds great importance. The sharing of details regarding cyber dangers and successful methods can enhance overall defences. Moreover, cooperation with government organisations and cybersecurity auditors is essential to creating strong regulatory structures and methods for lessening risks.

The tank terminal industry needs to consider the changing risk environment, be proactive about cybersecurity, and improve cooperation to handle this sea of risks. Putting resources into strong security actions, developing a powerful cybersecurity culture, and remaining knowledgeable are all crucial actions for guarding this important infrastructure from cyber-attacks. Finally, combined work from companies, government departments, and cyber-security specialists will make sure that tank terminals run safely and protectively, ensuring the worldwide supply chain moves without problems.

If you’re worried about the security of your company’s network and data, contact Cybernetic Global Intelligence for consultation today. You can call us at 1300 292 376 or email us at

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