Get a free web app penetration test today. See if you qualify in minutes!

Get In Touch

Get Immediate Help

Get in Touch!

Talk with one of our experts today.

  • Yes, I agree with the storage and handling of my data by this website, to receive periodic emails from microminder cybersecurity related to products and services and can unsubscribe at any time. By proceeding, you consent to allow microminder cybersecurity to store and process the personal information submitted above to provide you the content requested. I accept microminder's Privacy Policy.*

  • This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Thank You

Thank you

We appreciate your interest in our cybersecurity services! Our team will review your submission and reach out to you soon to discuss next steps.

UK: +44 (0)20 3336 7200
UAE: +971 454 01252

4.9 Microminder Cybersecurity

310 reviews on

Trusted by over 2500+ customers globally

Contact the Microminder Team

Need a quote or have a question? Fill out the form below, and our team will respond to you as soon as we can.

What are you looking for today?

Managed security Services

Managed security Services

Cyber Risk Management

Cyber Risk Management

Compliance & Consulting Services

Compliance & Consulting Services

Cyber Technology Solutions

Cyber Technology Solutions

Selected Services:

Request for

  • Yes, I agree with the storage and handling of my data by this website, to receive periodic emails from microminder cybersecurity related to products and services and can unsubscribe at any time. By proceeding, you consent to allow microminder cybersecurity to store and process the personal information submitted above to provide you the content requested. I accept microminder's Privacy Policy.*

  • This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Thank You

Thank you

In the meantime, please help our team scope your requirement better and to get the right expert on the call by completing the below section. It should take 30 seconds!

30 seconds!

Untick the solutions you don’t need

  • Untick All

  • Untick All

  • Untick All

  • Untick All
Thank You

What happens next?

Thanks for considering us for your cybersecurity needs! Our team will review your submission and contact you shortly to discuss how we can assist you.


Our cyber technology team team will contact you after analysing your requirements


We sign NDAs for complete confidentiality during engagements if required


Post a scoping call, a detailed proposal is shared which consists of scope of work, costs, timelines and methodology


Once signed off and pre-requisites provided, the assembled team can commence the delivery within 48 hours


Post delivery, A management presentation is offered to discuss project findings and remediation advice

Keeping Black Gold Flowing

Lorna Jones

Lorna Jones, Senior Cyber Security Consultant
Nov 03, 2023

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Why OT Security Assessments are the Oil that Powers Energy Ops

Imagine an offshore oil rig dead in the water, unable to pump a single barrel of crude. Communications are down, equipment won't start, and monitoring systems show random errors. An investigation soon determined it was a targeted cyber attack that shut down critical operational systems, endangering personnel and halting operations.

This nightmare scenario has long worried the energy industry, which relies on vulnerable industrial control systems (ICS) and operational technology (OT) to manage the physical extraction, processing, transportation, and distribution of oil and gas. Legacy devices, proprietary protocols, and safety-critical processes make ICS environments uniquely challenging to secure.

Fortunately, comprehensive ICS cybersecurity assessments can help oil and gas firms identify and mitigate weaknesses attackers could exploit. Evaluating ICS, SCADA and OT systems using tailored information security practices ensures the reliability and resilience of processes that keep the energy flowing worldwide.

OT Threats Targeting Oil and Gas Operations

Ransomware -

File encrypting malware designed to extort companies by locking access to systems and data. Ransomware could shut down OT networks controlling production or safety systems.

Process Manipulation -

Hackers alter settings on pipeline controllers, valve actuators, or chemical processors to cause dangerous conditions, spills, or equipment damage.

Sensor Spoofing -

Altering OT sensor readings, such as pressure, temperature, fluid levels, or gas composition, to trigger false emergency shutdowns or mask illegal changes.

Equipment Sabotage -

Maliciously changing pumps, turbines, drilling equipment or storage tank configurations to trigger failures, blowouts, or other physical damage.

Process Disruption -

Disrupting OT systems governing drilling, refining, storage or transportation operations to force costly shutdowns and lost production.

Financial Fraud -

Manipulating inventory controls, billing systems, or operational data to commit accounting fraud for financial gain.

Asset Hijacking -

Remotely taking control over unmanned offshore platforms, wells, drone tankers or robotic systems to steal or damage equipment.

Local Control Theft -

Compromising field devices like RTUs, PLCs, DCS controllers or SCADA masters to seize control of local extraction or processing operations.

Wireless Interference -

Jamming wireless communications essential for monitoring, alerting, and controlling remote OT systems.

Real-World ICS Incidents Impacting Energy Operations

"Colonial Pipeline (2021) - Ransomware forced the shutdown of a 5,500-mile pipeline carrying 45% of East Coast fuel."
"Saudi Aramco (2012) - Wiper malware damaged 30,000 computers, halting oil production for weeks."
"Trisis/Triton (2019) - Custom ICS malware caused emergency plant shutdowns at a petrochemical facility."
"MuddyWaters (2020) - New malware specifically built to target Shale Gas Facility Safety Instrument Systems."
"Maersk Shipping Line (2017) - NotPetya ransomware disrupted deliveries causing oil and gas cargo delays."
"Lake Charles LNG (2020) - Hurricane storm damage impaired monitoring and control systems at the Louisiana export facility."
"BlackEnergy (2015) - This custom malware caused power outages at Ukrainian oil refineries by wiping SCADA systems."
"Stuxnet (2013) - Sophisticated nation-state malware disrupted uranium enrichment PLCs at Iranian nuclear plants."
"Ida Infrastructure Damage (2021) - Hurricane flooding and wind damaged OT systems at Gulf Coast refineries, causing shutdowns."

Here's why OT-focused security assessments are the lubricant that powers resilience for oil and gas operations:

Hunting Down Hidden Dangers in ICS Environments
OT security assessments take an adversarial approach to uncover risks obscured within ICS environments, including:
Legacy Devices Past End of Life:

Components like remote terminal units, protective relays, and controllers often remain in place, extended past vendor support. Since they cannot be patched or upgraded, compensating controls must be assessed.

Undocumented Assets:

ICS environments have grown haphazardly over the years. New connections, unauthorised changes, and integration with IT systems can introduce unmanaged devices. Asset discovery identifies rogue components.
Insecure By Design - Many ICS protocols like Modbus, DNP3, and ICCP have no built-in security, lacking authentication and encryption. Assessing intrinsic protocol weaknesses is vital.

Implicit Trust:

ICS systems often trust neighbouring devices inherently. Assessments evaluate trust dependencies to identify where the compromise of one component can cascade.

Laxed Credentials:

ICS commonly uses hardcoded, shared, and default passwords. Assessing password hygiene identifies where more vital credential management is required.
Monitor Gaps - Lack of visibility into ICS processes means attackers can hide their activity. Auditing logging and SIEM capabilities will close blind spots.

Physical Exposure:

Unsecured switches, control panels, and HMI terminals in remote field locations invite manipulation. Biological security reviews are essential.
These hidden dangers are simply part of the ICS landscape, so proactive assessments that dig into obscurity are critical for oil and gas firms. Identifying threats is the first step toward better protection.

  • Verifying Network Segmentation

    Proper network segmentation is crucial for the security and containment of threats within ICS environments. In-depth assessment activities include:
  • Review Firewall Rules - Firewall policies between IT and ICS and between ICS subzones are examined for misconfigurations allowing adversary lateral movement. Rules must follow the principle of least privilege.
  • Validate Network Architecture - The design of VLANs, DMZs, and trust relationships across security tiers is assessed to confirm that it aligns with zero trust principles. Overly permissive trust can enable attacks to pivot through layers.
  • Check Remote Access - Any remote administration or vendor access pathways into ICS environments are evaluated to validate that they implement secure methods and MFA. Exposed tracks can allow unauthorised control system intrusion.
  • Assess Wireless - All wireless network connections and devices, like access points connecting ICS systems, are identified and checked for weaknesses. Wireless gaps can bridge air-gapped systems.
  • Confirm Asset Inventory - Complete asset inventory ensures all components are assigned to proper network segments. Unknown assets could create vulnerabilities if not properly segmented.
  • Penetration Test - Controlled attacks against segmented zones and trust boundaries validate defences to prevent lateral movement between security layers. Tests prove segmentation effectiveness.
  • Monitor Traffic - Network traffic flows are monitored to detect connections that breach intended segmentation, indicative of misconfigurations or unauthorised access.

Regularly verifying the integrity of ICS network segmentation through these assessment activities ensures separation is maintained over time against misconfigurations, workarounds, and threat actor exploitation.
Air-tight segmentation is mandatory to contain ICS threats and prevent far-reaching impacts on operations. Assessments confirm that segmentation is a critical barrier against attacks on the operational environment.

Testing OT Infrastructure Resilience

  • Oil and gas operations rely on the continuous availability of OT infrastructure. Assessments proactively verify resilience by:
    Simulating DoS Attacks - Emulate flooding attacks to overwhelm systems. Defences like load balancers, rate limiting, and capacity planning are validated.
  • Testing Redundancy - Failover capability is proven by removing redundant components like backup HMIs or historians. Smooth handoff confirms that design and procedures work.
  • Power Loss Scenarios - UPS and generator capabilities are tested with actual or simulated power cuts. Staged blackouts should maintain continuity.
  • Surge Testing - Systems are stressed by increasing load to mimic real-world demands. They validate infrastructure capacity and recovery processes.
  • Restart Testing - Controlled shutdown and stepwise restart of OT systems prove procedures safely resume operations after incidents.
  • Backup Restores - The integrity of backups is verified by having teams restore production data and configurations to alternate systems.
  • Contingency Exercise - Simulations validate contingency plans for transitioning operations to disaster recovery sites without data loss or service disruption.
    Repeated testing demonstrates ICS reliability and procedural readiness to sustain uptime through different hazardous scenarios. It confirms that failsafe protections withstand volatile situations.
    Proving OT systems accomplish their function without disruption, even under duress, is the key to resilience. Assessments give confidence that ICS can power through, come what may.

Auditing Policies, Controls, and Compliance

Patch & Vulnerability Management:

Laxed patching of ICS components can allow hacker exploitation and malware infection. Audits confirm that patching processes suit legacy tech constraints using risk-based approaches. Regular vulnerability scans are checked.

Credential Management:

Weak credentials are the #1 threat vector. Reviews validate that policies for crucial management, multifactor authentication, password complexity, and rotation periods align with NIST 800-82 guidelines and NERC CIP.

Malware Prevention:

Safelisting, restricting removable media, and scanning are validated to prevent malware from disrupting ICS continuity. Third-party app validation must occur.

Monitoring & Logging:

To detect threats, audits verify network traffic, authentication, system and admin activity are logged and monitored usingcentralisedd SIEM solutions.

Incident Response:

Response processes must account for delicate OT. Audits confirm that ICS-specific playbooks exist for security events, balancing cyber resilience with operational continuity and safety.

Third-Party Security:

With a high reliance on ICS vendors and managed service providers, review of risk-based security policies, contract terms, controls validation, and supply chain cybersecurity is critical.
Access Controls - Data classification, network segmentation, role-based access, and encryption form access layers. Audits confirm that controls align with ICS software, systems, and data sensitivity.

Security Training:

Given human-factor ICS risks, training programs are assessed to confirm that staff master cyber skills needed for technology and processes under their responsibility.

Compliance Mandates:

Adherence to NERC CIP, NIST SP 800-82, ISO 27001, ISA/IEC 62443, and other ICS security standards are validated by audits. They provide the necessary audit trail.
Thorough audits of ICS safeguards ensure security foundations remain solid as operational environments evolve and new threats emerge. They confirm that policies and protections align with best practices and compliance demands for managing today's escalated risk landscape.

Protecting Remote Field Assets
Your business must secure production facilities, wells, pipelines, tank farms, and other remote assets for oil and gas. Unique risks come from remote locations, wireless communications, and unattended operations.
Assessing devices like RTUs, HMIs, controllers, actuators, sensors, and network infrastructure at remote sites identifies vulnerabilities. Evaluation covers:
- Unauthorized remote access
- Cleartext credentials or insecure protocols
- Lack of logging and visibility
- Exposed equipment and loose physical protections
Proving robust protections for remote field sites and assets prevents disruptive cyber-physical attacks.

Validating Security Controls and Staff Readiness
Ultimately, your business must prove the strengths of security controls and staff preparedness against real-world ICS threats. Assessment techniques include:
- Penetration testing that safely exploits identified weaknesses
- Social engineering through phishing, pretexting, and physical manipulation
- Validation monitoring and incident response capabilities
- Controlled red team emulation of adversary techniques
Proving security controls work as intended reduces risk. Validating staff readiness counters ICS's inherent human vulnerabilities.

Keep Energy Flowing with Assessments

For oil and gas companies, cybersecurity assessments proactively mitigate dangers to fragile operational environments. Uncovering risks before trouble hits ensures the reliability of processes that keep the energy economy humming.
ICS-focused assessments identify vulnerabilities, validate protections, improve resilience, and verify staff readiness using OT-specific practices. Proactive monitoring and maintenance of ICS security ensure operations can catch up in the face of rising cyber threats.
Be sure to start impacting the bottom line before operational disruptions start moving the bottom line. Make ICS assessments a regular part of cyber protection for the oil and gas industry's critical infrastructure and the public it serves.

The next step for the Oil & Gas industry

As attacks on industrial control systems rapidly escalate across the oil and gas sector, your company's operational continuity and safety hang in the balance. All energy firms have a target on their backs due to their critical infrastructure role. Tried and true strategies now exist to get ahead of these mounting dangers. Over 2500 leading companies have taken action by performing in-depth OT security assessments tailored to their unique ICS environments.
These evaluations close gaps, improve protections, validate compliance, and prove preparedness against real-world threats. There is no longer time to wait. Join industry leaders in securing the sensitive operational backbone of your company.
Contact our team of OT security experts to start your comprehensive assessment today. Invest in preparedness to lock down infrastructure, prevent reputation-damaging incidents, and confidently keep profits flowing in the face of growing adversity. The future security of your oil and gas operations is too important to leave to chance. Take the next step forward.


Don’t Let Cyber Attacks Ruin Your Business

  • Certified Security Experts: Our CREST and ISO27001 accredited experts have a proven track record of implementing modern security solutions
  • 40 years of experience: We have served 2500+ customers across 20 countries to secure 7M+ users
  • One Stop Security Shop: You name the service, we’ve got it — a comprehensive suite of security solutions designed to keep your organization safe

Unlock Your Free* Penetration Testing Now

Discover potential weaknesses in your systems with our expert-led CREST certified penetration testing.
Sign up now to ensure your business is protected from cyber threats. Limited time offer!

Terms & Conditions Apply*

Secure Your Business Today!

Unlock Your Free* Penetration Testing Now

  • I understand that the information I submit may be combined with other data that Microminder has gathered and used in accordance with its Privacy Policy

Terms & Conditions Apply*

Thank you for reaching out to us.

Kindly expect us to call you within 2 hours to understand your requirements.