Cyber hacking on the rise for mining executives
As mining companies move forward into the next era of mining operations, the top concern facing the industry is cyber security.
According to ABC News, Australian mining executives say they are becoming increasingly aware of hackers trying to gain access to their sensitive information and are now taking extra precautions when doing business with countries like China.
"Cyber security is impacting businesses right now," said Queensland Resources Council CEO Michael Roche. "If you're an Australian resource company CEO going into China, for example, you simply do not take any of your devices into China.”
However, Chinese hackers are not the only ones causing disruptions for the mining industry.
"We've had examples from people who have hacked in and held to ransom companies, [saying] if they want their database back, they've got to pay X amount of dollars and so forth," said Simon Bennison, CEO of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies.
• Related content: FEATURE: How Susceptible is the Mining Industry to IT Security Risks?
"But I think it goes a step further and I think some companies are seriously concerned about risks by particular activist groups which have shown limited boundaries in what sort of degree they'll go to impacting on a company's future."
A Global Information Security Survey in 2013 and found that roughly 41 percent of the mining and metals respondents experienced an increase in external threats over 12 months, including 28 percent that experienced an increase in internal vulnerabilities over the same period.
Earlier this year, a report by Ernst & Young said cyber hacking and breach of information systems security is emerging as one of the top risks to the mining and metals sector.
Cyber security represents a significant challenge for mining companies as information technology (IT) underpins almost every aspect of their operations. The rise of automation has placed the mining industry at the mercy of hackers and companies are being urged to invest generously in IT defenses as these attacks become increasingly sophisticated.
"Existing cyber defenses are pretty weak against even mid-level types of attack from states and organized crime," said Gregory Austin, a Professor with the Center for Cyber Security at University of New South Wales.
"The director of national intelligence in the United States has warned that attacks will get more severe and their impacts, that attacks will change from the simple theft of data to the manipulation of data.”
A Federal Government report on cyber security policy is expected next month, according to the ABC News report, and should reveal new initiatives for companies to protect their data.
"Government has a very big role to play, but ultimately the bigger part lies with private corporations and with private citizens."
Axora launches global challenge for digital technology
Axora is launching the world’s first international competition to discover new cost-saving digital technology for industrial companies, which can produce rapid benefits within a year.
The Metals & Mining and Oil & Gas sectors have recently experienced budget cuts of 20% on average, driven by a variety of factors including the global pandemic, slump in demand and price wars. The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge aims to transform these industries by discovering innovative, digital solutions that reduce cost fast and pay for themselves, whilst achieving the same or improved productivity, health and safety and sustainability standards.
“While digital solutions can help to get work done quicker and more cost-effectively, they typically require a three-year ROI, and if there’s no flexibility in the budget, a full budget planning cycle is needed to get things moving”, said Dr. Nick Mayhew, Chief Commercial Officer, Axora.
“Yet, extra financial cost is often incurred in delaying digital projects, so customers have asked us to highlight solutions that can have an ‘in year payback’ whereby the cost spent on the solution and deployment will be more than recovered within the budget year - this accelerates the timeline and drives positive business impact, quickly.”
The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge
Axora is keen to learn of any digital cost-saving innovation which: meets the 12-month payback timeframe; can be deployed in any part of the value chain including upstream, downstream or midstream oil and gas, metals processing or mining; and is ready for market. The Axora Cost-Saving Technology Challenge is open to entrepreneurs, start-ups, academics and sector leaders across the world. The competition will be judged by a panel of leading industry experts.
“We’re passionate about supporting our industries and customers through all forms of digital transformation and the cost-saving solutions we are searching for could also provide a lifeline to many mining and metals and oil and gas companies in the current economic climate,” added Dr. Mayhew.
Improving productivity, safety and sustainability
Up to ten finalists will be chosen to pitch their solutions at a digital pitch day later this year, after which Axora will validate the ROI models and vet the solutions. The winner will receive the ‘Axora Market Accelerator’ sales and marketing package worth £10,000. This includes a two-hour workshop, promotion through Axora’s thought leadership content and inclusion into its digital demand engines, providing the opportunity for the winning solution to benefit thousands of industrial companies. Entries are open until May 31. Full details of the competition including terms and conditions can be found here.
To learn more about the Axora B2B digital solutions marketplace read our feature in the latest issue of Mining Global magazine.