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The Cyber Threat To the Global Oil Supply

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the change-your-password dept.

Power 123

Lasrick writes "Blake Clayton has an excellent piece on the cyber threat to the global oil supply. His description of the August attack on Saudi Aramco, which rendered thirty thousand of its computers useless, helps make his point. From the article: 'The future of energy insecurity has arrived. In August, a devastating cyber attack rocked one of the world’s most powerful oil companies, Saudi Aramco, Riyadh’s state-owned giant, rendering thirty thousand of its computers useless. This was no garden-variety breach. In the eyes of U.S. defense secretary Leon Panetta, it was “probably the most destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date.”'"

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"private sector" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953225)

That's adorable.

Re:"private sector" (3, Insightful)

HermMunster (972336) | about 2 years ago | (#41953289)

Yet another attempt at FUD to get the American people to accept higher gas prices. Yet another way for them to arbitrarily increase gas prices even though there's plenty available.

Re:"private sector" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953403)

Blood is rushing to my dick.

Re:"private sector" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954283)

Thanks for the insight, Mr Ballmer.

Now please explain why "the August attack on Saudi Aramco, which rendered thirty thousand of its [Windows] computers [more] useless" shouldn't result in lawsuits and boycotts of your products?

Re:"private sector" (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#41953557)

Yet another attempt at FUD to get the American people to accept higher gas prices.

Nonsense. This is an attempt at FUD to get the American people to accept higher defense spending.

Re:"private sector" (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#41953643)

and gas prices... and more intrusive government supervision of the internet...

Re:"private sector" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954137)

Well, it least they are spending our tax dollars more efficiently this way ( 3 propaganda attacks for the price of 1 ).

rofl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954149)

cause doing stupid stuff one at a time is not ok , you have to get smart and do 3 ways at once?

Re:rofl (1)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#41955471)

That's what she said :/

Be independent, generate your own power. (2)

h00manist (800926) | about 2 years ago | (#41956283)

If you live in a house, you could just generate your own power. Many cases have less need every day to keep dependending on others and paying for it.
http://otherpower.com/ [otherpower.com]

Re:"private sector" (1)

Livius (318358) | about 2 years ago | (#41956735)

Gas prices *are* the defence policy, so you're both right.

More nonsense (1)

h00manist (800926) | about 2 years ago | (#41957011)

Nonsense. This is an attempt to create endless confusion among everyone, and not ever discuss how to create and own their infrastructure, and avoid being slaves of monthly bills - tax, food, power, communications, transportation, real estate, insurances, and so on.

Re:"private sector" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953773)

I don't see the big deal. Citizens in other countries pay considerably more. Using http://www.whatprice.co.uk/petrol-prices/ [whatprice.co.uk] as a point of reference, the cheapest unleaded gasoline (petrol) is nearly 8 U.S. Dollars per U.S. gallon at the time of this post.

The problem with the U.S. is that public transportation is not set up as it is in the UK and much of Europe, as many others have stated on other sites. Many U.S. citizens are forced to own motor vehicles or rely on someone who owns one to transport them where they need to go, unless they use a bicycle or walk, and neither is terribly feasible in my area.

I know people who bike to work and complain often about nearly being hit by a driver who starts driving onto the shoulder and the route to take to work involves streets with a speed limit of 45 mph or more, not that it's respected anyway, especially in the wee hours of the morning. Bike lanes? They exist to an extent, but they're not widespread enough, and there isn't exactly sidewalk everywhere either. Simply put, a motor vehicle is the best option in the U.S., especially out in the country.

Otherwise, I'd say raise the taxes to make us pay more for gas, and those who didn't like it would just use public transportation or find another way of getting where they need to go.

Re:"private sector" (1)

Ocker3 (1232550) | about 2 years ago | (#41953975)

I was wondering why this post didn't have a good score, then realised it was posted by AC. I only saw it because I browse with my /. filtering set to -1, normal users won't see it.

Re:"private sector" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954185)

Otherwise, I'd say raise the taxes to make us pay more for gas, and those who didn't like it would just use public transportation or find another way of getting where they need to go.

Raising taxes means everyone pays for more gas, also those only using public transportation.
And mind you, public transportation isn't always that great in Europe either. In Belgium it simply sucks.
In that way, many people here are also forced to own motor vehicles, and stand in traffic for hours on end just to get to work.

Re:"private sector" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956025)

Public transport in the UK is very inconsistent. It's privatised with local monopolies, so in most cities and some towns it's pretty decent for getting about, expensive and/or annoying to use to get between regions, and pathetic on unprofitable routes.

I live in a small town in an area that's sparsely populated (for England - average 1053 people per square mile, compared to the USA's 83pp sq mile), it's possible to get into and around town on a bus, and luckily we're near a main rail line, but to get anywhere else in the local area you absolutely require a car. 20 miles from the middle of town the buses are (literally) one per day, taxis won't go that far out of town (too many prank calls), and the one rail line doesn't stop anywhere other than cities any more.

In addition to the cost of fuel (135p/litre, or $8.11 / US gallon), we pay road tax based on the emissions of our vehicles, ranging from 0 for ultra-efficient vehicles, $160/year for my relatively efficient but old car, up to silly money for silly vehicles), mandatory annual MOT testing (usually around $120 USD, assuming it passes first time), and mandatory insurance ($700 USD or so). In all, the cost of me owning and driving a car on my 20 mile commute is around $1600 per anum, whereas public transport from my local (ish, 15 minutes walk) stop to the same place would run $1500. And that's only because I'm lucky enough to be within walking distance at both ends.

Of course, we deal with this by driving cars with reasonable gas mileage, learning to drive later in life (I was 24 when I got my full license), carpooling and giving people lifts (hooray for the designated drivers!), but I get the feeling that transport is a far more significant expense for us in the UK than you in the US, despite the fact that our country is only 800 miles from one end to the other. I'd say domestic (non-holiday) transport accounts for around 20% of household budgets.

Finally, for a young person (17) wishing to learn to drive, you will likely spend around 1300 USD in tuition and fees before you qualify, even if you are one of the 47% that pass first time. You will then face insurance premiums of $6k per anum minimum for the first few years (starting salary for a 17 year old is maybe $20k). The high insurance aspect is really just a money-grab by the insurance industry, but idea of 15 year olds driving massive American cars after minimal tuition is frankly terrifying :-)

Captcha: grandpa

Re:"private sector" (5, Insightful)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 2 years ago | (#41954201)

and of that $8 per U.S. Gallon, 50 percent or more is parlimentary taxes. If you reduce the tax rate per gallon to what we pay in the United States, which is $0.14 cents, you'd understand why we are pissed at the Oil Companies because of the price of fuel, 90 percent of it goes to the oil company and every chance they get, they push the price up and tell us we're lucky we aint paying the same as in the EU and the rest of te world. No We aint because if we were, then the current $4.00 per gallon cost in my area would mean we're actually paying $2.00 per gallon for product with the remainder being taxes.

Re:"private sector" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41955377)

On the other hand, the gas taxes help to explain the much lower number of toll roads in the UK versus the US, and the more widespread existence of practical alternatives to driving a car in most European cities.

Re:"private sector" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954593)

What about the rural areas that make up 90% of this country? I should bike 40 miles to get to the grocery store... and then?

Re:"private sector" (2)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about 2 years ago | (#41954669)

This is a good point when comapring U.S. transportation to Europe. The country is bigger than Europe. Alaska alone is the size of many small European countries combined. Things here are newer and the country was developed in the forge of the industrial revolution not in the days of pure horse travel and monarchs.

Re:"private sector" (-1, Flamebait)

CAPSLOCK2000 (27149) | about 2 years ago | (#41955083)

Don't live there or accept the consequences. Every place of residence has its disadvantages. If you want to live far away from other humans you should be willing to spend a lot of time and money on shopping.

Living 40 miles from a grocery store? (1)

h00manist (800926) | about 2 years ago | (#41956577)

That's just going to be a lot of waste no matter what anybody does. The social and monetary cost for a trip to the grocery will always be enormous. There's a reason everything is expensive in Hawaii or Japan -- they are far form everything. That's the whole reason big cities have progressed. It's unlikely world economy and infrastructure will be built around supplies for people who live far from everything, at least not until some equivalent of nuclear fusion comes around.

Re:"private sector" (1, Informative)

CAPSLOCK2000 (27149) | about 2 years ago | (#41955073)

This argument is raised in any discussion that touches on cars or gas prices. The situation is about to get unsustainable. Somebody will get hurt over this. The longer the inevitable is delayed, the more people will get into trouble. It's time to start fixing. Slowly raise taxes on gas and use the money to improve the situation. Create bike lanes. Promote cycling. Improve the public transportation system. Convince people to live closer to their work.

Leon Panetta should have said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954043)

It was “probably because most computers were using Microsoft's Windows.”'

Re:"private sector" (3, Insightful)

Maow (620678) | about 2 years ago | (#41954863)

Yet another attempt at FUD to get the American people to accept higher gas prices. Yet another way for them to arbitrarily increase gas prices even though there's plenty available.

--
You can lead a man with reason but you can't make him think.

I like your signature.

I love the irony of that signature appended to what constitutes your comment.

You will eventually be paying more for fuel; either it goes to a) government taxes which can pay down debt or maintain / enhance infrastructure, or b) it goes to corporate profits / speculators' pockets.

So, when BigOilCo(tm) gets a refinery / pipeline, etc. incapacitated such as this story refers to, gas prices will immediately increase. And only (maybe) return to initial price after newly refined fuel has flowed through the entire (repaired) system, and repairs have been paid for. Yay for speculators / corporate profits.

Or, pay more in taxes, get better transit and fewer crumbling bridges, enjoy the uptick in economy from jobs created, and in future, rely less on BigOilCos.

However, it's hardly arbitrary.

How convenient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41955575)

I think I saw this once in a movie about hackers...

Gas prices by nation (2)

h00manist (800926) | about 2 years ago | (#41956921)

See what countries pay for gas, and where the developed countries are.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline_and_diesel_usage_and_pricing [wikipedia.org]
Country - gas prices (in US$ / US Gallon)
Norway - 9.69
Netherlands - 9.35
Denmark 8.90
Sweden 8.90
Finland 8.82
Italy 8.74
France 8.63
United Kingdom 8.63
Belgium 8.44
[...]
United States 3.88
[...]
Brunei 0.39
Oman 0.31
Bahrain 0.27
Kuwait 0.224
Qatar (Doha) 0.83
Turkmenistan 0.72
Libya - 0.64
Saudi Arabia (Riyadh, Jeddah) 0.45
Venezuela 0.085

Sounds like FUD (4, Interesting)

codepigeon (1202896) | about 2 years ago | (#41953227)

From the article: "probably the most destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date" ... and then "Saudi oil operations were unaffected by the computer outage". Wow, that is truly destructive.

Then there is this nugget "American consumers could suffer because of an incident involving an oil company that they know little about and is located thousands of miles away".... so hasn't that been the case for the last, what, 30 years?

Re:Sounds like FUD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953401)

53 years by my count.

Why aren't we energy-independent yet? Oh yeah, thank you Ronald Reagan. Morning in America sure worked out well.

Re:Sounds like FUD (2)

memnock (466995) | about 2 years ago | (#41953541)

Probably one of the main cues that this is NOT an "excellent piece" is the author's use of "cyber attack". But I'm not a journalist, so maybe I'm misinformed.

Re:Sounds like FUD (2)

santax (1541065) | about 2 years ago | (#41953699)

No worries, the guy who wrote 'excellent piece' isn't a journalist either. Trust me on that one.

It *is* FUD (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953597)

Saudi Armco don't connect their oil production control systems to their public network. They made it clear it did not affect oil production.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/08/29/saudi_aramco_malware_attack_analysis/

"Oil and production systems were run off "isolated network systems unaffected by the attack, which the firm has pledged to investigate. In the meantime, Saudi Aramco promised to improve the security of its network to guard against fresh assaults."

But it's always a nuisance when even the administration computers get a virus, so they should improve their systems.

The fix for critical system vulnerability is: KEEP THEM ON SECURE PRIVATE NETWORKS. You cannot trust firewalls or VPNs since these are complex software, a simple physical separation of networks is and always will be the best fix. And Armco know this and did this.

Re:Sounds like FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953843)

FUD or deliberate Propaganda?

Pipeline sabotag may have been done some time ago. (1)

bdwoolman (561635) | about 2 years ago | (#41953235)

In Soviet Russia [wikipedia.org] Really. Maybe.

Re:Pipeline sabotag may have been done some time a (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#41954555)

Except it didn't happen.

It is just a mistake. (3, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#41953239)

It is not a cyber attack. It is just the project ORCA meant to help the election day volunteers for Mitt Romney got its URL messed up and kept redirecting traffic from its http server to https server. It somehow sent everything via Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Aramco is just a bystander caught in the cross fire. Simple glitch.

Re:It is just a mistake. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41953581)

Good one!

It's just a matter of time... (2)

bobcardone (922176) | about 2 years ago | (#41953263)

Before any number of potential calamities affect the increasingly vulnerable oil chain. Adversaries realize that this is our Achilles heel and that any disruption will cause an immense impact on the world economy. I just hope we have effective plans in place to counteract any actions taken, as well as proactively identifying, nullifying and persecuting any organizations or states that choose to pursue any actions along these lines.

Re:It's just a matter of time... (2, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | about 2 years ago | (#41953447)

Ah, the War on Cybercrime ... yeah, we need another faceless War. /sarcasm

Re:It's just a matter of time... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953641)

If you're going to continue to have wars on concepts, maybe you need to target them a little better eg: 'War on Foreign Oil Dependency', and have some indicators of progress and completion so you stop being at 'war'.

Re:It's just a matter of time... (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 2 years ago | (#41954161)

The problem with that idea is that it also gives clear expiration criteria for any extended powers granted to solve the problem.

Re:It's just a matter of time... (1)

You're All Wrong (573825) | about 2 years ago | (#41955915)

Yeah, but at least this one could be a *cyberwar* on cybercrime, so you don't need to condemn lots of young Americans to mandatory suicide.

state-owned = private sector???" (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41953283)

state-owned = private sector???"

or is it part of some kind of war???

Re:state-owned = private sector???" (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#41953687)

Sure.

In Soviet Russia, State owns YOU! Applies to a lot of countries that nationalize their industries you know like Venezuela.

Re:state-owned = private sector???" (4, Insightful)

quenda (644621) | about 2 years ago | (#41953823)

> or is it part of some kind of war???

Of course it is. And there is a lesson: People who live in glass houses should not throw Stuxnets.

Re:state-owned = private sector???" (4, Funny)

dfn5 (524972) | about 2 years ago | (#41953943)

state-owned = private sector???

I think you mean ==. You just assigned private sector to state-owned.

Re:state-owned = private sector???" (1)

Trecares (416205) | about 2 years ago | (#41954197)

In Soviet Russia, state-owned = private sector.

Re:state-owned = private sector???" (1)

kdemetter (965669) | about 2 years ago | (#41954207)

Or maybe it was : something in the private sector becoming state-owned ?
Though then it should have been :
state-owned += private sector

Re:state-owned = private sector???" (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#41954569)

I wish, but they are still playing in Libertarians.

Re:state-owned = private sector???" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954567)

I think you should learn a bit more about computer languages.

Re:state-owned = private sector???" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954925)

No, in the language he was using, you cannot assign.

Re:state-owned = private sector???" (1)

skovnymfe (1671822) | about 2 years ago | (#41955487)

Wouldn't that depend on him being a programmer, not a mathematician?

He meant it. He's an Obama voter. (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 years ago | (#41955547)

Maybe that's exactly what he meant, he was assigning private assets to control by politicians. After all, if you dedicated your life to making something, you didn't build that.

corporate dipshitting revealed (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | about 2 years ago | (#41953315)

ya this really is about epenis
one company dont have a big epenis so they have to invent the CYBER THREAT

other causes of Epenis malfunction are , lack of humanity , being over paid for a job you don't do anything.
Stop being bad mister corporation and maybe you wont be a target

Wag that dog. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953377)

Now the excuse is established, the precedent is set.

The evil hackers can hack into all those computers and raise our gas prices! it's their fault! blame them! we need more laws, more cops, more rights taken away! save us from the evil hackers!

And completely ignore all these companies stupidly put their infrastructure on the net at all. Or that oil companies STILL enjoy record profits year after year. Or any of the other really bad things going on here... No... focus your thoughts on those evil hackers. they send you all that spam too. /facepalm

Da Vinci (4, Insightful)

Black Mage Balthazar (708812) | about 2 years ago | (#41953389)

Unless 5 million dollars are transferred to the following numbered account in 7 days, I will capsize 5 tankers in the Ellingson fleet.

The future of energy insecurity has arrived (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41953397)

Yeah, it's not anything happened in '73 and '79 with the devaluation of the dollar to show us where "energy insecurity" comes from.

Jeeze, what lame bullshit to give the damn cops even more power.

ex cia fear monger (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#41953417)

Guess nothing really changes. Fear mongering is the best way to keep your job, or so it seems. Wonder how long till he says we need to have a piece of government hardware in our computers monitoring everything we do? It would be to keep us safe of course, think of the children!

Re:ex cia fear monger (1)

Adriax (746043) | about 2 years ago | (#41953549)

People don't care about the children anymore.
"Think of your wallets/gas prices!" is more appropriate.

Piffle (2)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about 2 years ago | (#41953467)

To summarise the article:

"There was an attack! This could cause some problem, somewhere, sometime .. maybe. Senior people in the US say 'something could go wrong!' but they don't all agree on that."

Serious, serious FUD. This is like a CBS broadcast calling for increased funding for cyber defense.

The journal is published by one of those 'think tanks' which try to form foreign policy by delivering analysis funded by industry heavyweights. This one (believe it or not) founded by Richard Nixon. How does this find the front page of /.? Is /. becoming a site devoted to fear-mongering and right wing political activism? I mean seriously, just because it has 'cyber' in the title, doesn't mean that there's anything of interest to /. readers in the text!

Re:Piffle (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41953551)

Yes, Madre Di Dios, what a stupid article. The 'cyberattack' DID NOT affect production. It hammered the office computers that the Saudis use to keep track of Facebook and download whatever passes for porn in that part of the world.

Whatever Saudi Aramco did to air gap their production facilities WORKED. Sure, it could have created a big problem but it didn't. Hell, tommorow the Irainains or whoever did it could lob an Airbus into the plant.

Everybody run away! Run away!

Re:Piffle (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#41953901)

whatever passes for porn in that part of the world

Shampoo advertisments?

Terrorists are forcing us to use insecure software (3, Insightful)

_greg (130136) | about 2 years ago | (#41953497)

Once again Terrorists are forcing companies to use operating systems and other software well-known to be insecure on critical servers! You will know these Terrorists because of their distinctive clothing: Ties and Business Suits, which are never worn by software and security specialists. Alas, there may be nothing we can do to counter this Terrorist Threat as the Terrorists seem to have taken over our Corporate Boardrooms.

But there's no cause for alarm: everyone knows that the more you pay for software the more secure it is, right? And we can always retaliate against any Cyberattacks, unless of course they come from Botnets installed on our own citizens' computers.

simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953509)

yep. this is what happen when you bank your future, business and infrastructure on Windows OS

Just unplug from the 'net. (1)

AvderTheTerrible (1960234) | about 2 years ago | (#41953525)

If anything is absolutely critical for a companies production infrastructure, it should not be connected to the internet, and all the systems involved should be locked down so hard that you need admin approval to so much as change the desktop wallpaper, let alone write to the disk or plug in a thumbdrive.

And if there is a need for data transfer from those machines to the internet, hire a few extremely trustworthy individuals to run sneakernet between the two networks, and have the whole thing recorded on security camera: the room in which the two network connection points are in, and the monitors and KB/Mouse inputs on the two computers.

Probably cheaper to have up to 6 guys who do nothing but sit in a room manually transferring files and data from the secured infrastructure LAN during their shifts to the internet at employee request than it would be to suffer a cyberattack that cripples production. And if something DOES go down, it's all on the video anyway, so it should be hard to figure out which of the sneakernet employees did it.

Re:Just unplug from the 'net. (3, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41953667)

a attack can still jump the network by copying it self to the remove media used to make the jump. Or attack the data to go after the app.

and thats been known for how long? (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | about 2 years ago | (#41953827)

NO really what IT dept anywhere in the world would take a risk like that?
YOU got to be an utter idiot to use the same stuff from an online resource and your mission crit offline
LIKE REALLY
are these people 5?

Maybe one day... (4, Insightful)

dnaumov (453672) | about 2 years ago | (#41953583)

... they will learn to not have critical infrastructure accessible via the Internet?

One can only hope.

Re:Maybe one day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953735)

They didn't, knob job. Someday you'll learn to read. (One can only hope.)

Everything is connected via employee desktops (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 years ago | (#41954085)

With the exception of maybe 12 organizations in the world, EVERYONE has mission critical systems connected indirectly to the internet. In a "highly secure" organization, I'd have two machines on my desk, one is not connected to the internet and has access to an important database. The other has internet access. That's good, right? Problem is, I need to be able to transfer information between my two desktops, so there is some sort of connection between them. That makes an indirect connection between the internet and the critical database. More analogous to the TFA case, where it was 30,000 machines, 75% of their desktops, losing that number of ANYTHING is damaging. Let's say you consider a desktop used by a customer service rep "not mission critical". The web site and mail system have to be connected to the internet, of course. How would your company be affected if you lost email, the web site, amd the customer service department for a week or two? How about if the payroll person's desktop is down also? Heck, even dumb things like the toilet paper delivery seem pretty important when you lose them.

Re:Maybe one day... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#41955485)

Struxnet was designed to infect computers not connected to the net.

False Flag Operation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953697)

Big money wants controls placed on personal computers.
End of story.

How can this be a bad thing? (3, Insightful)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#41953727)

Not that I'm applauding the actions of hackers (legitimate or otherwise). Nor am I suggesting that we should all do our best to bring Down The Saudis (or anyone/everyone else involved in Oil production, for that matter).

Having raised all those caveats, however: Is THIS not good for everyone in the long term?

Those who were attacked will update their systems, those who rely on oil will rethink their policies. Maybe if we're really (really really really) lucky there'll be greater investment in energy solutions OTHER than fossil-fuels.

I see a whole lot of SILVER LINING and not much dark stormcloud here.

you@ faiBl it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953729)

empirical proof of overestimated threat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953745)

I posit the theory that number of suicide-willing terrorists is wildly overestimated. Or even, regular non-suicidal trouble makers. Or, would-be "terrorists", as a group are pretty dull individuals.

I offer the lack of easy to do terrorist acts (statistically speaking) that have occurred. A simple "Ask Slashdot" round of "what would you do to F things up" would undoubtedly result in an interesting list of new things to worry about... Of course anyone who responds with an easy to do act of terrorism, that is then acted upon will be a) very sorry b) intensely investigated, c) all of the above.

How Useless? (1)

imagekiwi (2527670) | about 2 years ago | (#41953751)

What do they mean by useless? Windows wouldn't boot? or did the computers explode, or did the virus flash the bios with garbage, even then you could resolder a new bios chip on! Would be hard to make multiple computers completely useless!

Re:How Useless? (3, Insightful)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 2 years ago | (#41954005)

What do they mean by useless? Windows wouldn't boot? or did the computers explode, or did the virus flash the bios with garbage, even then you could resolder a new bios chip on! Would be hard to make multiple computers completely useless!

No, it cleaned off all of the crapware, adware and browser taskbars. The computers were finally able to boot into windows quickly, thus rendering them immediately useless.

A Reality Check (2, Insightful)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#41953775)

The US Energy Information Administration [eia.gov] claims that the US dependence on oil from The Persian Gulf is approximately 22%, so even if they dropped off the face of the planet (ie immediately/suddenly, tomorrow) it would not make all that much of a difference.

Sure it'd be a massive PITA for maybe as much as a month, then we'd all get over it and wonder what the fuss was about.

Re:A Reality Check (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953851)

LOL - If you think that 'our' oil is any less subject to world market calamities just because we import less, you've been horn-swaggled. If Saudi Arabia stops producing or shipping, there will be a ripple effect throughout the entire world market, just like there was when the traders bid the price up to $140/barrel.

Do you really think that the multinationals give a rats ass where their profit comes from or whether the U.S. transportation and production costs remain stable? I don't.

Leon Panetta may actually believe this is important, but he should also have foreseen this as a predictable response from Iran when Stuxnet was sent out into the wilds of Iran by... let's see was it the Israelis acting alone, the Brits... no, perhaps the U.S. and the Israelis acting in concert... hmmm... who did that anyway, and were they really thinking there would be no consequence?

Re:A Reality Check (1)

quenda (644621) | about 2 years ago | (#41953853)

The US Energy Information Administration [eia.gov] claims that the US dependence on oil from The Persian Gulf is approximately 22%, so even if they dropped off the face of the planet (ie immediately/suddenly, tomorrow) it would not make all that much of a difference.

Surely a US government agnecy could not possibly so stupid. Nothing on the website supports your ludicrous claim that they think "t would not make all that much of a difference.".

Ohhhh Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953871)

to your rescue
no worries as long as you yanks got cash im sure a oil deal with us can be made....(chuckles)

Re:A Reality Check (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953883)

Also it frankly doesn't matter if the US didn't technically need any oil from the Persian Gulf. Oil is a fungible commodity which is extracted and sold by private companies. If world supply decreases anywhere in the world, the price is going to go up for everyone because those companies have no obligation to sell it to US consumers if say, Chinese consumers are bidding higher for it.

Unless the US nationalized the oil industry in some way, it straight up doesn't matter from who the physical oil is actually coming because the usefulness and importance of oil is due to it's price as much as it's properties.

Re:A Reality Check (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954373)

20% of the US' consumption of oil is more than the entirety of Canada's. Just sayin'.

Re:A Reality Check (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954381)

... it would not make all that much of a difference ...

Can you reduce your miles travelled by 22%? People who say it 'balances out' never say how they're going to balance the change in cost and miles travelled.

Or to put it another way, demand would suddenly be 128% of supply. What capacity do the oil refineries in the USA have to extract and deliver to that demand? More importantly, how much would they charge for increase in demand? These questions follow basic economic theory.

... maybe as much as a month ...

This assumes people don't hoard their supply of petroleum products. The supply price is stable only if production increases and demand is constant. It's in the refinery's best interest to keep supply just below demand. The only thing that changes this is supply from competitors.

Re:A Reality Check (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41955357)

The world relies on the Persian Gulf for >20% of it's oil, and contains a much larger fraction of the world's known reserves. You can't mess with ~20% of the world's supply without having a spectacular effect on the prices of oil from all other locations. It would make a huge difference in price even if you got none of your oil from there.

"Cyber threat" my ass (2)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | about 2 years ago | (#41953857)

I suppose the biggest threat to the global oil supply is the fact that it's finite and that we burn 85 millions barrel a day.

House of cards? (1)

mschaffer (97223) | about 2 years ago | (#41954143)

So many industries use networked computer systems that are vulnerable. The fact that the article mentions the "oil supply" is irrelevant. Everything is at risk.

hey it's not just a threat (1)

Swampash (1131503) | about 2 years ago | (#41954171)

It's a CYBER threat. That makes it more worser.

Who Blake Clayton is (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41954199)

This guy is not a security expert. His bio: "Before joining the Council, I was a sell-side commodity strategist at Louis Capital Markets." That's a brokerage firm. A "sell-side analyst" is really a PR guy who generates happy-talk "buy" recommendations which are sent to customers.

Quick, we need some cost-plus contracts! (1)

runeghost (2509522) | about 2 years ago | (#41954557)

Nothing but a direct transfer of several billion dollars (preliminary estimate, subject to increase without notice) from the American public to the pockets of several large defense contractors can save the global oil industry!

Ob Running Windows = already useless (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#41954709)

Oh noes, we have to reactively install antivirus on 30,000 machines, we might as well just set fire to them.

Re:Ob Running Windows = already useless (2)

Krneki (1192201) | about 2 years ago | (#41954797)

Or you know, install Linux on the user segment. You might be forced to hire a couple of people that knows what they are doing though. Yap the Oil company are doooooomed!!!!!111

29998 not used for anything important though (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#41954907)

Since 29998 were used only to access Facebook this wasn't a big problem. The problem was the 2 used to access Slashdot...

What about the CYBER BANKSTERS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41955001)

Stealing trillions via black screens? They are a threat to the monetary system itself! Forget oil, you can't pay for oil when the banksters stole all the money.

Then, there is HFT. A cyber threat to the markets.

There is Electronic voting a cyber threat to the constitutional republic.

Corporate owned public spectrum, a cyber threat to the public interest.

Patriot ACT spying, a cyber threat to your entire life.

Security is easy (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#41955021)

Simply get off running on imported oil. The fastest way for USA is to move to Natural Gas for our commercial vehicles and large passenger vehicles. We have abundant supplies. In addition, we can do electric for regular cars. As it is, they are slowly coming up. I think that Tesla will change the industry with their gen 3 model.

Most importantly, once we are off oil, then North America can export to the rest of the west for security reasons.

Re:Security is easy (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41955677)

Simply get off running on imported oil. The fastest way for USA is to move to Natural Gas for our commercial vehicles and large passenger vehicles. We have abundant supplies

Everything you said is wrong.

First, we do _not_ have abundant supplies. We are already running out of natural gas sources, which don't last forever. This is why there is so much push to engage in the destructive process of fracking; that's how we get more natural gas. Asking us to use more natural gas is asking for more fracking. Second, that would NOT repeat NOT be the fastest way, it would be THE MOST EXPENSIVE way, because our commercial vehicles and large passenger vehicles run on diesel fuel, and cannot reasonably be converted to natural gas. That only works for gassers, which have a compatible compression ratio. Converting a gasser to natural gas involves preventing gasoline delivery, and installing a special regulator, it costs a few hundred bucks. Converting a diesel to natural gas involves changing engines. The fastest way would be to produce biodiesel from algae on seawater in the desert using technology proven at Sandia NREL in the 1980s with our tax dollars. We have more than enough land sitting around under the dominion of the BLM to replace 100% of our transportation fuels with biodiesel-from-algae.

Your ideas are bad, and no one should subscribe to your newsletter.

Electric trains? (1)

h00manist (800926) | about 2 years ago | (#41956459)

Electric freight trains. Railroads have proven themselves old and reliable technology. Almost all electric, almost no accidents. About 90% lower cost for freight transportation. Only problem is, since the trains last for decades, the tires don't wear out all the time, and the there's no massive fuel consumption, it doesn't generate lots of other costs. Those massive costs are what feed the truck manufacturing and oil business. But, there is no real change without change. The trucking and oil business industries will have to go do something else. They won't be the first or last industry get shaken up by changes in the world.

Re:Electric trains? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#41956749)

America does not have that many freight trains (most are on short haul east coast). But the majority of freight trains are diesel electrics.

Re:Security is easy (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#41956725)

And yet, new commercial vehicles are bought all the time. By moving THESE to NG, the conversion happens relatively quickly. In fact, according to one study, if NAT GAS had been passed in 2012 (God dammned neo-cons who will never put the nation first), then by 2020, we would not have any imported oil. That is not to say that we will not use oil, just that we will not need imported oil.

Actually, we are LOADED with Nat gas. Running out is not an issue. Why? Because we have multiple means of converting coal to natural gas (actually methane). Estimates are that with the nat gas of 75 years combined with the coal converted will give us around 300 years (though doing that would be insane; but this is a GOOD temporary step).

Now, you will bring up economics. The CURRENT price of Nat Gas is $3.50/MMBTU. Normally, the Nat Gas price in America is around $5.00/MMBTU. The market is currently saturated with supplies and wells are capped.
In addition, in EU, it is $8.00/MMBTU. And in China, it is $20.00/MMBTU.
So, the question becomes, how cheap is gas/diesel for a similar MMBTU? At 90/Bl, it is around $28/MMBTU.
Of course, that begs the question of how much does coal->methane costs? Well, with prices for coal from 2006 (expensive) combined with Great Point Energy Conversion, the price is $4.50.

Please, continue pushing your newsletter. You and your fellow conspiracy fans can continue to push a line of BS without any knowledge of what really is going on.

Crap Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41955739)

I work with some energy companies, solar and wind, and the software in that industry is crap. All the programs we have run across have been poorly written, bloated, buggy, and extremely vulnerable. When we discuss fixing issues with the developers most have never heard of accepted standards for software and security. As one company VP told me, we write this only based on the end users’ recommendations.
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