WASHINGTON, June 27 (UPI) -- Representatives of the U.S. oil and natural gas sector said they launched a new entity aimed at protecting energy infrastructure from cyberattacks.
The voluntary initiative, the Oil and Natural Gas Information Sharing and Analysis Center, will serve as a virtual entity aimed at sharing information about computer-based attacks with its members.
The group said data breaches, cyberthreats and cyberespionage campaigns were becoming more commonplace.
"As cyber threats evolve, the oil and natural gas industry faces unique challenges with the increasingly interconnected delivery of services to a common consumer and supplier base," it said.
Kyle Isakower, vice president of the American Petroleum Institute, said his group supports the analysis center because it offers a way to help companies identity threats in a comprehensive way.
"Computer-based attacks are one of the fastest-growing threats to American businesses and infrastructure," he said in a statement Thursday.
API represents the business interests of more than 600 energy businesses.
In March, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission called on grid operators to address vulnerabilities by performing risk assessments, examining potential threats and implementing security plans.
James Clapper, the top U.S. intelligence official, told the Senate Intelligence Committee last year a major cyberattack on the United States posed a more grave and immediate threat than terrorism.