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Power Industry Target of Further Cyber Attacks

The energy industry has once again fallen victim to hackers, with the world’s biggest oil company the latest casualty in a string of cyber attacks on energy producers and power plants.

Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, has admitted damage to over 30,000 computer hard drives after at least one insider with high-level access allegedly assisted hackers last month.

The attack, using a computer virus known as Shamoon against Saudi Aramco, is one of the most destructive cyber strikes conducted against a single business.

Shamoon spread through the company’s network and wiped computer hard drives clean.Saudi Aramco said damage was limited to office computers and did not affect systems software that might harm technical operations.

Hackers from a group called The Cutting Sword of Justice claimed responsibility.They said the computer virus gave them access to documents from Aramco’s computers, and have threatened to release secrets, but so far no documents have been published.

The Cutting Sword of Justice described its motives as political. In a posting on an online bulletin board the day the files were wiped, the group said Saudi Aramco was the main source of income for the Saudi government, which it blamed for “crimes and atrocities” in several countries, including Syria and Bahrain.

Saudi Aramco have so far declined to comment on the investigation’s evidence.

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