Kaspersky Lab, the Russian-based multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider, is in talks with Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR on a project to introduce cybersecurity system at oil and gas industry facilities in the country, Mushvig Mammadov, Kaspersky Lab’s representative in Azerbaijan, told reporters in Baku Nov. 29.
Mammadov said that the talks are being held against the backdrop of the ongoing modernization carried out at SOCAR’s facilities and Kaspersky Lab is working to get involved in this process in terms of providing SOCAR’s facilities with industrial safety systems.
“The main topic of the talks is to ensure the industrial cybersecurity of the production process,” Mammadov said. “The negotiations are proceeding well, and we believe that positive results will be obtained in the near future.”
In general, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems are now used in all facilities of Azerbaijan’s industry, and, unfortunately, many engineers responsible for the operation of these systems don’t pay due attention to their protection thinking that the systems are isolated and cannot be hacked, he added.
“Nevertheless, experience shows that this is quite possible, and the risks of attacks on industrial infrastructure exceed corporate risks a lot,” Mammadov said. “Inactivity at a facility as a result of cyberattacks can cost a company millions of dollars in losses. If one talks about major oil facilities, main attention should be paid to the protection of namely industrial systems, since attacks on such systems may lead to real threats and possibly even catastrophes.”
Industrial safety systems are also applicable for the protection of power supply and water supply systems and the Kaspersky Lab is also discussing this issue with Azerbaijan’s authorities responsible for supplying water and electricity, he noted.
“In general, at present, the industry sphere is moving towards ensuring protection of industrial safety,” Mammadov said. “However, not everyone is ready to implement such solutions and therefore, in this regard, we still have to do a lot of work with engineering personnel of major industrial facilities of Azerbaijan.”