Saudi Arabia has issued a warning to local organizations that the Shamoon virus that had hit state-held oil giant Saudi Aramco in 2012 has resurfaced in a new variant, Reuters reports, quoting an alert by the telecoms authority it had seen.
The Shamoon 2, which completely wipes out computer disks, has reportedly targeted 15 government agencies and private organizations, according to Saudi state-run TV channel Al Ekhbariya TV, as quoted by Bloomberg.
Saudi Arabia’s labor ministry was hit by the attack, while a chemicals company, Sadara Chemical – a joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical - said on Twitter that the firm had experienced a network disruption on Monday morning, but operations had not been affected.
According to Adam Meyers, vice president with cyber security firm CrowdStrike, the hackers had probably worked on behalf of the Iranian government in 2012 and in the recent attacks, and the attacks are likely to continue.
Two months ago, Saudi Arabia was hacked again, and computers at six critical organizations in the Kingdom were destroyed. The Saudi aviation regulator, The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), was one of the targets—Saudi Arabia would not identify the other five. At the time, Saudi Arabia said it was still investigating the attack, but claimed that the digital evidence looked as if it had originated from Iran.
In that attack, hackers used a variant of the Shamoon virus, the same virus that wiped the hard drives at Saudi Aramco in 2012. For that incident, the virus wiped clean any computer in its wake, and replaced every file it came in contact with, with an image of a burning American flag. The incident was claimed by The Cutting Sword of Justice, which accused the “Al-Saud” regime of being corrupt and sponsoring “such oppressive measures by using Muslims oil resources.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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