US Increasingly Convinced Iran Behind Attack On Saudi Aramco

US officials Iran was the most likely culprit of a hit on oil giant Saudi Aramco, which saw 30,000 of the company’s machines taken offline.

The Shamoon virus was believed to have caused the massive outage in August, which saw Aramco cut off all outside access to its communication systems. “The disruption was suspected to be the result of a virus that had infected personal workstations without affecting the primary components of the network,” the group said at the time.

Later that month, Aramco said it had cleansed all systems, claiming its hydrocarbon exploration and production systems were unaffected.

Did Iran really hit Saudi Aramco?

Now, according to a report in the New York Times, US officials are pointing fingers at Iran, and have particular concern about a “cybercorps” that Iran’s military set up in 2011.

They believe Iran and the US are exchanging blows in cyberspace, as part of a shadow war.

The US is believed to have created the highly sophisticated Stuxnet and Flame malware, alongside Israel.

A consultant to the US government on the attacks said: “What the Iranians want to do now is make it clear they can disrupt our economy, just as we are disrupting theirs. And they are quite serious about it.”

Last week, US defence secretary Leon Panetta talked about the hit on Saudi Aramco, saying it was “probably the most destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date”. Panetta also warned could be hit by a cyber equivalent of 9/11 or Pearl Harbour.

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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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