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How to Protect Remote Mining Operations from Cyber Attacks

A recent attack on Weir highlights the need for collaboration and threat intelligence in the mining industry.

by Motoni Olodun
cybersecurity in mining

The mining industry faces a growing threat of cyber attacks as hackers target the increasingly digitalized and connected operations of remote mines. A recent attack on industrial supplier Weir, which could cost the company up to $27m in lost revenue, highlights the need for mining companies to collaborate on cyber security solutions and adopt a threat intelligence model.

According to cybersecurity software company ESET, many global manufacturing companies are shifting to a threat intelligence model, which involves sharing information and insights on the techniques and tactics used by cybercriminals and indicators of compromise in their systems. This can help mining companies identify and prevent potential attacks or respond quickly and effectively.

ESET’s chief security evangelist Tony Anscombe told Mining Weekly Online that remote mining operations are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks, as they often have weak connectivity and limited access to real-time protection and response. He also noted that mining operations could be attractive targets for cybercriminals, as they could cause significant disruption and damage or even trigger environmental disasters.

Anscombe advised mining companies to invest in robust cybersecurity solutions, such as encryption, authentication, backup, and recovery, and train their staff to recognize and avoid phishing emails and other common attack vectors. He also suggested that mining companies join industry associations and forums to exchange threat intelligence and best practices.

Other experts have echoed Anscombe’s recommendations, stressing the importance of cybersecurity in mining. In a report by advisory firm Ernst & Young (EY), 71% of mining respondents said they had seen an increase in disruptive cyber attacks over a 12-month period, and 55% said they were worried about their ability to manage the threat. EY also estimated that global cybercrime costs would grow by 15% annually over the next four years, reaching $ 10.5 trillion annually by 2025.

The report suggested ways to improve mining cybersecurity, such as creating a cyber-resilient culture, implementing a risk-based approach, enhancing governance and oversight, leveraging advanced technologies and analytics, and engaging with external stakeholders and regulators.

Cybersecurity in mining is a matter of protecting assets and data and ensuring safety, sustainability, and reputation. By collaborating on threat intelligence and adopting proactive measures, mining companies can reduce their exposure to cyber risks and enhance their resilience in the face of evolving challenges.

Source: Mining Weekly


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