Tags: aramco | network | oil | virus

Aramco Says Network Attacked by Virus, Oil Output Unaffected

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 08:01 PM

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest crude exporter, said its computer network was attacked Wednesday by a virus, forcing it to isolate many of its electronic systems. Oil production wasn’t affected.

The major components of the network are safe, according to an e-mailed statement from the state-owned oil company known as Saudi Aramco. Normal operations should return soon, it said without specifying a timetable. The virus entered the network through personal computers, the statement said.

“The network that runs the company’s major operations is safe, and there are no effects whatsoever on production operations,” the statement said. “The electronic systems were isolated completely today and access to them from the outside was prevented as a precautionary measure.”

Oil and nuclear facilities in Iran have been subject to a succession of cyber attacks. Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based information-technology security company, discovered a virus earlier this year named Flame that it said was designed to steal sensitive data in the Middle East and was primarily found in Iran. Last week, it said it had identified Gauss, a cyber worm mainly targeting banks in Lebanon.

Iranian Attacks

Iran denied earlier this month that its nuclear facilities suffered a cyber assault that shut down computers and played music from the rock band AC/DC. The Foreign Ministry said in May that the attacks were being launched by hostile governments as part of a broader “soft war.”

Almost two years ago, malicious software known as Stuxnet affected computer systems and several centrifuges in an Iranian nuclear plant. It was jointly developed by the U.S. and Israel, according to the New York Times.

In April, Iranian officials said they managed to contain a cyber attack that targeted the country’s crude industry and caused computer systems at the oil ministry and other related state-owned businesses to crash.

Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, followed by Iraq and Iran, according to Bloomberg estimates of July output. The kingdom pumped 9.88 million barrels a day last month.

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Wednesday, 15 August 2012 08:01 PM
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