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After reports of hacking attempts, Brazilian oil giant Petrobras wants to keep itself on the winning security edge by increasing its spending on its IT infrastructure this year and for the following four years at least.

Maria das Graças Silva Foster, president of Petrobras, said at a public hearing in the Brazilian Senate the company will invest $1.8 billion (R$4 billion) in 2013 and $9.6 billion (R$21.2 billion) between 2013-2017 on information technology and telecommunications.

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“This is a policy that is so important it has been personally approved by the board of directors,” said Graças Foster. “The management of our goods, people, information and the wealth we create is of crucial importance.”

During the joint hearing with the Parliamentary Commission for the Espionage Inquiry and the Economic Affairs and Foreign Relations committees in the Senate, she said the company constantly monitors and protects its information. One case in point she cited the quantity of emails that end up preemptively blocked.

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“Between August 09 and September 09 we received 195.9 million emails,” she said. “Of these, 16.5 million arrived at their destination.”

Regarding press reports the U.S.’ National Security Agency (NSA) targeted Petrobras through espionage, the president said no violation of Petrobras systems had been recorded, but the presence of the company’s name in reports has created “discomfort.”

“Systems used by Petrobras are among the most advanced on the market,” she said, emphasizing “investment in information security should be set to follow technological developments.”

Graça Foster said Petrobras has an integrated data processing center, which has restricted access, and the company’s strategic information does not go through the Internet.

“The company’s knowledge is held at the data processing center. Critical information is stored in an encrypted closed system. Access to the center is controlled with biometrics, weighing and monitoring with cameras” she said. Despite working with partner companies and suppliers, only Petrobras holds all the information, only allowing the company to read them, she said. Additionally, Petrobras has contracts that provide for confidentiality.

Strict security procedures included requiring scientists and functionaries to avoid transferring the most critical data, such as seismic studies of the company’s oil reserves, through the Internet.

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