Iranian oil systems hit by cyber-attack

Iranian authorities said the country was hit by a cyber-attack during the weekend, a malware-based threat targeting institutional sites and (possibly) key infrastructures for oil extraction. The attack forced officials to cut the affected systems off the Internet, but now everything should be fine and investigators are working to find the true extent of the breach.

The unknown malicious code hit computers belonging to the Iranian oil Ministry and the national oil company, and Teheran decided to cut Kharg Island (handling 90% of Iran’s total oil exports) and other oil plants off the Internet just as a precautionary measure.

To better manage the cyber-attack consequences, Iran mobilized its previously formed “cyber crisis committee” – the same committee already entrusted with fighting the Stuxnet worm which attacked facilities for nuclear energy research.

As for the practical consequences of the new attack, Iran says data regarding users of Ministry and national oil company sites was stolen but “core” information about the oil industry on the whole is still safe on systems not connected to the Internet.

“All units with the oil industry back up their data on a daily and long-term basis – the oil ministry said – but in cases where information has been impaired to any extent, the backup data is being replaced”. The international oil selling division “has not been affected”, Teheran stated, while a team of experts will be investigating the incident for two or three days to know and deal with the full wrongdoings of the still-unnamed malicious code.

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