The federal government says our country’s critical infrastructure needs better protection against hackers, in a report that notes pipelines and oil facilities would be attractive targets.
There are no larger crossroads of the oil industry than Cushing, with oil in storage and more passing through, making Oklahoma a critical player in security for the oil industry.
“Are they aware of a cyber threat? Sure they are. Are they doing something about it? You bet they are," said University of Tulsa Assistant Professor Tom Seng.
"Not just from a national security and safety issue, but let’s get down to pure profit. They don't want their infrastructure disrupted in any way that stops them from performing the services they perform for their customers,” said Seng.
Tulsa’s many mid-stream companies, just like the rest of the industry, increasingly rely on automation that makes things run more efficiently and makes them vulnerable to hackers.
The CEO of WPX Energy says it's an increasing concern for all companies.
"We think about that quite a bit, thinking of security and cyber-security anymore the cyber piece of security you have to build it into the whole security question,” said Rick Muncief, the CEO of WPX Energy.
In recent testimony to Congress, Homeland Security said more needs to be done to gauge the threat to oil and gas, especially pipelines, that carry hazardous products through populated areas.