Phishing Protection for Oil, Gas, and Utilities

Protect your business from phishing attacks with INKY's next-generation email security solution.


Why and How do Phishers Target Oil, Gas, and Utility Companies?

If there is one incident that should focus the industry on how dangerous phishing is, it’s the 2021 ransomware shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline. The whole world took notice when a major piece of critical infrastructure had to be taken offline for a week and counting because an attack led by phishing opened Colonial’s entire network to costly infiltration.

The energy sector is attractive to phishers because of its large cash flow; aging, vulnerable operations infrastructure; heterogeneous technology; and a great number of interconnected but separate entities. This business environment — made up of majors, refiners, drillers, exploration firms, service companies, utilities, equipment manufacturers, transport specialists, pipeline operators, terminal operators, marketing companies, traders, brokers, financial institutions, and investors — is woven together by email. Tools and platforms used by enterprises large and small do not extend to the entire ecosystem; for communications, the industry is dependent on a vast flow of email among disparate organizations. A combination of high-value and heterogeneous environments make energy and utilities a rich target.

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How Are Oil & Gas Companies Currently Protected?

The secure email gateways (SEGs) most firms in the oil and gas industry rely on — Microsoft, Mimecast, Proofpoint, and others — have only rudimentary protection against phishing. Phishing attacks are like nuclear missile sallies. It’s not enough to stop 99% of them; it has to be 100%.

In the tight window between when an email server receives a mail and when it has to deliver it to a recipient’s inbox, the SEGs can only examine the universal email tests (DKIM and SPF), take a cursory look at the nature of the message with regular expression matching, and look up the sender’s address on whatever bad lists they have on the shelf. With this limited examination, they can't spot the phish. And this is the best case. Most can’t run their full analysis stack on every email because it takes too long.

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How Does INKY Stop Phishing Attacks on Oil & Gas Companies?

INKY sits downstream from the SEG and spends less than two seconds looking at an email before dropping it in the recipient’s inbox. From this privileged position, INKY catches all the phish that get past the SEGs (proof that they’re not catching them and we are).

During that two seconds INKY releases a swarm of mathematical models on the email’s raw HTML code. They all operate simultaneously on it, testing for this and that and formulating an “opinion,” which is in fact a number on a scale, representing the results of its particular test.

One more model takes the output of all the rest and comes up with an overall score that represents how bad INKY thinks the email is. This value is interpreted to create a color-coded banner, which is inserted in the email before it's passed on to the recipient’s inbox (and pulled back out of any reply on the way out).

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Can you rely on your end-users to be on high-alert for all of these phishing tactics across all devices?

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Brand Hijacking

Detect brand-indicative and scam-indicative images using computer vision models.

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Text Anomalies

Find brand-indicative and scam-indicative text using approximate matching.

Determine Brand_icon

Brand Impersonation

Determine the apparent brand using color palette, layout features, prominent text, and more.

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Zero Font

Pinpoint zero-font and other forms or hidden text.


Text Cloaking

Identify Unicode homographs, typos, and other text cloaking.

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