Security experts have continually voiced concern over the increased threat hackers pose to chemical companies. Given that computers now control most of the equipment in chemical plants, the risk of an attack – both from insiders and outsiders – is now very high. Results from compromise could include spills of materials, compromised controls, leaks of secret recipes, and serious physical damage.
Chemical companies are taking a more proactive approach to secure their critical data. Systems that are connected to the Internet or the corporate network and information that is shared with suppliers and partners require an additional layer of data protection. Increased authentication and authorization processes are necessary, and more real-time controls need to be implemented to prevent threats from turning into incidents.
Several regional and international initiatives have been strengthened to address safety and security concerns and mitigate risks. These include the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the US, and REACH in Europe (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals).