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It has become increasing more documented that cyber attacks pose a serious threat in the modern world, especially to energy companies which tend to use computerised systems to automatically control the extraction, processing, storage, and distribution of natural gas and crude oil, as well as other energy sources.
Last August, on the 15th of the month, a virus attacked 30,000 computers at the state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), with the intention of disrupting crude oil and gas supplies. If successful the attack would have caused serious damage to the operating systems, and problems for Saudi Arabia’s export volumes, which in turn would have affected the price of oil around the world.
But it also seems that companies must protect their computers from inside and outside threats.
Related article: Oil Explorers Beware: Hackers Are Eyeing What You Know
In a separate incident three Saudi Arabian nationals have just recently been handed prison sentences for undertaking espionage against Saudi Aramco.
According to Arab News the three worked for a computer maintenance company that was contracted by Aramco to maintain and service the computers, but whilst fulfilling their contractual obligations they also stole, and leaked confidential information taken from the computers.
One suspect was found guilty of stealing hard drives, some with highly confidential information, as well as an external hard drive used by an engineer employed by the oil company. He was handed a six year prison sentence where as his two accomplices were given just three years to serve in prison.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com