East Texas Gas Producers Association gets cybersecurity tips from U.S. Secret Service agent


CARTHAGE, Texas (KLTV) – The digital world may offer great convenience, but it also offers criminals an opportunity to steal and create chaos.

On Tuesday, the East Texas Gas Producers Association heard from a U.S. Secret Service agent about the threats posed by cybercriminals, especially when it comes to the energy industry.

“These are crimes that can result in significant losses to organizations,” said William Mack, resident agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Tyler office.

In May, we all saw the major effects of a cyberattack, specifically ransomware that disrupted the Colonial Pipeline. The attack yielded a lesson about cybersecurity, not only for major companies and organizations but for all of us.

“Hackers will target individuals,” Mack said. “They don’t just target organizations or businesses. They will target governments and they’ll target people as well. If they think there’s an opportunity there, they will take advantage of it.”

Among the things Mack addressed: business email compromise, a sophisticated fraud scheme that’s easy to pull off.

“These are incidents or crimes where people often receive emails from a company that tricks them into sending money instead of to a legitimate source, they send to an illegitimate source: a scammer,” he said.

It’s a low-risk-high reward crime. A successful bank robber typically gets $3,800, while a successful business email compromise averages $130,000. Mack advises people to be aware of the tricky tactics used in cybercrimes, like spoofed email addresses and domain names.

“And training your employees to be aware of the pitfalls of opening suspicious emails and so on and so forth,” Mack said.

He says cyber hygiene is a way to stay secure. It’s a practice that protects the health of your organization’s network and assets, and he adds resiliency is another key part of the process.

“So ensuring that if you are the victim of some type of network intrusion, regardless of the industry you’re in, that you can address and overcome it,” he said.

Mack says a significant trend they’re seeing is the use of digital currency in cybercrimes.

The gas producers also heard from a Texas Ranger, who spoke on the crimes they investigate, which can include those in the oil and gas industry. Carthage Bulldogs Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Scott Surratt also spoke, giving the gas producers an opportunity to hear some of his keys to success on the football field.

Carthage Bulldogs Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Scott Surratt speaks at the gas...
Carthage Bulldogs Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Scott Surratt speaks at the gas producers meeting.(Blake Holland/KLTV)
Texas Ranger Joshua Jenkins is assigned to Company B and is currently assigned to Gregg,...
Texas Ranger Joshua Jenkins is assigned to Company B and is currently assigned to Gregg, Harrison, and Panola Counties.(Blake Holland/KLTV)
East Texas Gas Producers Association hosted a meeting on Tuesday at Panola College in Carthage.
East Texas Gas Producers Association hosted a meeting on Tuesday at Panola College in Carthage.(Blake Holland/KLTV)
A slide shown by a Secret Service agent explains business email compromise.
A slide shown by a Secret Service agent explains business email compromise.(Blake Holland/KLTV)

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