In an attempt to attract investment and support for his plan to upgrade and improve the cyber defences of the US, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta addressed business leaders in New York, counting them a tale about the latest cyber-attack on Saudi Aramco.
He described the infiltration of Shamoon virus, past Saudi Aramco’s high tech security systems and firewalls, and into its computers.
Panetta claimed that the virus was the most sophisticated attack ever seen in the business sector, and that on the same day it also struck Rasgas, Qatar’s natural gas firm.
He explained that the virus contains a program which is called a ‘wiper’, which is coded to automatically replace crucial system files with images of a burning US flag, and overwrite all real data and files with nonsense data.
“More than 30,000 computers that it infected (at ARAMCO) were rendered useless, and had to be replaced,” he told the startled executives, “imagine the impact an attack like this would have on your company.”
A strong case, but will the business leaders take note?
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com