Small Canadian energy producer reports cybersecurity incident

A Calgary oil and gas producer says it has suffered a cybersecurity incident that impacted certain aspects of its business.

Clearview Resources Ltd. made the statement in a news release issued late Wednesday that gave no details of how the attack affected operations.

“Upon learning of the incident, Clearview took steps to secure its systems and mitigate the impact to the company’s data and operations,” the statement said. “Independent cybersecurity experts have been retained to assist the company in dealing with the matter in accordance with industry best practices.

“Clearview is in the process of assessing the impact to the company’s operations. At this time, we are not aware of any evidence that customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised or misused as a result of the situation.”

Clearview is a small player in the oil patch. Its third quarter oil and natural gas sales totaled C$5.7 million, compared to C$9.2 million in the same period in 2022. For the quarter it recorded a net loss of C$1.6 million.

For the nine months ending Sept. 30, oil and gas production was down 21 per cent compared to the same period in 2022, in part due to the disposition of non-core properties at the beginning of the year and production downtime due to wildfires and overland flooding in the second quarter.

Energy companies — producers and distributors — are considered part of any nation’s critical infrastructure. Without energy, a country’s economy stops, which is why the sector is a target for threat actors who hope firms will pay to get back access to stolen data, or control over operations. Nation states are also known to probe energy companies for espionage purposes.

In June, one of the country’s largest energy producers, Suncor, suffered a cyber attack affecting its ability to process credit and debit cards. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged a cyber attack on a Canadian energy firm, although, he said there was no physical damage to any energy infrastructure.

One of the biggest known attacks in North America was the 2021 ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline in the U.S., which forced the company to shut down the operation of one of the largest gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel pipelines in the U.S.. Flights had to be re-routed, there was panic gasoline buying, and briefly, the price of gas shot up.

According to numbers compiled by Statista, energy firms were the fourth most popular targeted industry in 2022 (10.7 per cent of attacks around the world, behind manufacturing (24.8 per cent), finance and insurance (18.8 per cent) and professional services (14.6 per cent).

Attacks aren’t always direct. In a report released this week, SecurityScorecard said 90 per cent of the world’s leading energy companies reported having experienced a third-party data breach in the past 12 months.

In June, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security issued a report on cyber threats to Canada’s oil and gas sector. Oil and gas organizations tend to have a broad attack surface of connected digital systems, it notes.

Financially motivated crooks are the main cyber threat against this country’s energy sector, the report says in part. But it is also targeted by state-sponsored threat actors looking for trade secrets, research, and business and production plans.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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