European oil facilities hit by cyber-attacks

European oil facilities hit by cyber-attacks

Oil transport and storage companies across Europe have been hit by  cyber-attacks.

IT systems have been disrupted at Oiltanking in Germany, SEA-Invest in Belgium and Evos in the Netherlands.

In total dozens of terminals with oil storage and transport around the world have been affected, with firms reporting that the attacks occurred over the weekend.

But experts caution against assuming this is a co-ordinated attack.

Belgian prosecutors say they are investigating the cyber-attack that has affected SEA-Invest terminals including the company’s largest in Antwerp, called SEA-Tank.

A spokeswoman for the company said they were hit on Sunday with every port they run in Europe and Africa affected.

The company is working to get a back-up IT system online but says that most liquid transportation is operational.

The spokeswoman said SEA-Invest is aware of the cyber-attacks against other companies but investigations have not determined if there is a link.

A spokesperson for Evos in the Netherlands told the BBC that IT services at terminals in Terneuzen, Ghent and Malta have “caused some delays in execution”.

On Monday Oiltanking Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG, which stores and transports oil, vehicle fuels and other petroleum products, said it had been hacked.

The company was forced to operate at a “limited capacity” and was investigating the incident, it said.

Some reports suggest the attack on Oiltanking is ransomware, where hackers scramble data and make computer systems inoperable until they get paid a ransom.

In May last year a ransomware attack on US oil supplier Colonial Pipeline saw supplies tighten across the US and multiple states declaring an emergency.