How safe are independent fuel retailers from hackers? Hint: they're not.
Posted: | Author: JimmyC
In the last year or so it seems there’s nothing that hackers can’t touch.
Among their victims are some of the most successful retail establishments. And whoever thought we’d see the day when a sitting president’s personal e-mail would be hacked?
I suppose that’s a topic for another day, but here’s a piece of news much closer to home for the fuel systems industry: the same automated tank gauges (ATG) that are designed to make compliance with federal regulations a little easier could also provide hackers with a back door to shut down your station’s operations.
This all came to light earlier this year when a Boston-based IT security firm worked with an independent researcher to test the settings of ATGs at gas stations and remote fuel depots across the entire Internet.
What they discovered is that nearly 6000 gas stations are vulnerable to attack.
This means that hackers could alter fuel level readings at those facilities, making it difficult to know how much fuel is in your storage tank (short of a manual check). And they could even shut down systems entirely, leaving you unable to sell your most precious commodity.
Fortunately, there is a silver lining or two.
First, there’s yet to be an attack reported. Second, there are a few steps that station operators can do to protect themselves—the most important of which is to ensure that you use a strong password. And Rapid7 recommends setting up your ATG behind a virtual private network, or VPN.
The fuel system industry is also responding with solutions that provide the security and convenience operators need. Veeder-Root’s Insite 360, for example, offers a mobile dashboard to monitor station operations. Wayne Fueling Systems’ Ovation 2 dispenser offers robust protection that is compliant with the EMV regulations that will take effect October 1.
And Franklin Fueling Systems’ T5 Series fuel management systems brings you a comprehensive solution that monitors and controls everything from your below ground storage tank to the deep fryers in your c-store.
Whether you’re more concerned about physical security, cyber security or merely keeping day-to-day operations running smoothly, Shields Harper offers the most complete line of products to address your needs, along with expertise based upon nearly a century of experience in the design and build of fueling systems.
Whether you have your own practical solution to the cyber security challenge, or want to discuss our offerings in further detail, feel free to contact us.