Saudi Arabia says cyber attack aimed to disrupt oil, gas flow

by NBC News  |  published on December 10, 2012

Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, Aramco, said on Sunday a cyber attack against it in August which damaged some 30,000 computers was aimed at stopping oil and gas production at the biggest OPEC exporter.

The attack on Saudi Aramco — which supplies a tenth of the world’s oil — failed to disrupt production, but was one of the most destructive cyber strikes conducted against a single business.

“The main target in this attack was to stop the flow of oil and gas to local and international markets and thank God they were not able to achieve their goals,” said Abdullah al-Saadan, Aramco’s vice president for corporate planning, on al-Ekhbariya television. It was the firm’s first comments on the apparent aim of the attack.

Aramco and the Saudi Interior Ministry is conducting an investigation into the cyber strike. Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki said the attackers were an organized group operating from different countries on four continents.

The attack used a computer virus known as Shamoon which infected workstations on Aug. 15 and the company shut down its main internal network for more than a week.

Turki said that the investigation had not shown any involvement of Aramco employees but he could not give more details as the investigation was not yet complete.

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