Rio Tinto scales up cyber security

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Rio Tinto scales up cyber security

Global drive to focus on security control systems.

Rio Tinto is poised to beef up its cyber security capabilities worldwide in what appears to be a response to the growing influence of IT-OT convergence at mine sites.

The miner has opened a sizable recruitment drive for cyber security experts across a range of disciplines in four countries – the US, Australia, South Africa and Canada. The Australian roles are located in Perth and Brisbane.

Though many of the roles sought are non-specific – architects, risk analysts, pentesters and intrusion detection and response specialists – several are aimed at securing industrial control systems, and the “ERP/SAP” systems of record underpinning operations.

The use of internet-connected control systems is being expanded in many industrial sectors as firms pursue initiatives that leverage big data analytics and the Internet of Things.

A Rio Tinto spokesperson did not return a request for comment on the timing and reasons for its expansion.

Rio Tinto rival BHP Billiton this week said it was also having to boost its cyber security resources to meet technology challenges posed by the merger of information technology and operational technology (IT-OT) in the mining space.

“We maintain and increasingly rely on information technology systems, consisting of digital infrastructure, applications and networks to support our business activities,” BHP said in its annual report this week.

“These systems may be subject to security breaches (eg cybercrime or activists) or other incidents (eg from negligence) that can result in misappropriation of funds, increased health and safety risks to people, disruption to our operations, environmental damage, poor product quality, loss of intellectual property, disclosure of commercially or personally sensitive information, legal or regulatory breaches and liability, other costs and reputational damage.

“Evolving convergence of IT and operational technology (OT) networks across industries, including ours, present additional cyber-related risk as traditionally IT networks have been focused on availability of service to the enterprise.”

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