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Gas Stations Are At Risk For Cyber Attacks

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 08:48 -- Kayla Smith

According to ArsTechnica, now that gas pumps are connected to the internet through an Automatic Tank Gauge or ATG, hackers could access the pumps via the internet, causing the pumps to shut down or to slow down fueling. Nearly 5,300 fueling stations could be affected. 

Hackers would easily be able to make the gas tank report that it is full or empty or state that the tank has a leak, shutting down pumps altogether.  

HD Moore, chief research officer at Rapid7, a security and risk management firm, said, “If you look at these gas stations, they are using off-the-shelf home routers from Best Buy. By connecting them to the Internet, mom-and-pop gas station owners are going to get hit with the same problems that regular consumers have. The problem is that these devices are doing something important, moderating tank levels of these gas stations.”

Connecting gas pumps to the internet requires constant monitoring of inventory and requires complex hardware and security measures. It will take much more than a residential-grade router. 

“Operators should consider using a VPN [virtual private network] gateway or other dedicated hardware interface to connect their ATGs with their monitoring service. Less-secure alternatives include applying source IP address filters or setting a password on each serial port,” Moore said, according to IT World.

Andrew Hider, president of Veeder-Root, the technology company that created most of the internet-connect guages, told ArsTechnica , ”We have taken immediate and decisive steps to inform each of our customers about activating the security features already available in their tank gauges. It is important to note that no breaches of any kind have been reported by any of our customers in regard to our gauges, but we feel that any question regarding security is met with the appropriate resources to safeguard Veeder-Root customers.”

Kachoolie, a company that was founded to solve the problems of ATGs, created this Tank Gauge Vulnerability Test that operators can use to see if they are at risk. 

Finally, an industry takes a proactive approach to security, protecting themselves before an attack occurs. 



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