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A recent survey conducted at the EnergySec 10th Anniversary Security Summit in Austin, Texas, last month revealed that energy IT professionals consider themselves overconfident when it comes to detecting a data breach on mission critical systems.

Tripwire surveyed 104 conference attendees, with results showcasing that 66 percent of respondents said they could detect a breach on critical systems in less than one week:

  • 23 percent said it would take less than 24 hours
  • 24 percent said it would take less than 72 hours
  • 19 percent said it would take less than a week
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EnergySec 2014 Survey

However, 10 percent of respondents said data breach detection would take up to a month, while 9 percent said it could take up to three months. Furthermore, 15 percent of respondents were not confident they could detect a breach in their critical systems.

Industry research shows most breaches go undiscovered for weeks, months or even longer. According to the Mandiant 2014 M-Trends® 2014: Beyond the Breach threat report, the average time required to detect breaches is 229 days. Additionally, the report states that the number of firms that detected their own breaches dropped from 37 percent in 2012 to 33 percent in 2013.

“The survey results reflect a surprising optimism,” said Steven Parker, president of EnergySec, a non-profit organization formed to support organizations within the energy sector in securing their critical technology infrastructures. “Attack detection is a critical capability, and I think there is much more work to be done in this area than most organizations realize.”

“I always say that trust is not a control, and hope is not a strategy,” said Dwayne Melancon, chief technology officer at Tripwire. “Unfortunately, this data suggests that a lot of energy security professionals are far too hopeful about their own cybersecurity capabilities.”