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Saturday, October 13, 2012

U.S. thinks Iran behind cyberattack in Saudi Arabia

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta referred to in a major cybersecurity speech on Thursday the “shamoon” virus for the first time publicly, saying it erased critical files on about 30,000 computers at Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company. (Reuters)Panetta referred to the “shamoon” virus for the first time publicly, saying it erased critical files on about 30,000 computers at Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company.


The United States believes Iran was behind a major cyberattack on Saudi Arabia’s state oil company and a Qatari gas firm, a former U.S. official who has worked on cybersecurity issues said Friday.

In a major cybersecurity speech on Thursday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued a veiled warning to Tehran that Washington is ready to take preemptive action to protect U.S. computer networks, the former official said.

U.S. government agencies have concluded that Iran orchestrated the “shamoon” virus that disabled tens of thousands of computers at Saudi Aramco and struck Qatari natural gas firm RasGas as well, said James Lewis, who has worked for the State Department and other government agencies on national security and cyber issues.

American officials had “more than a suspicion” that Iran was to blame for the August attacks, that also possibly included recent denial of service attacks on some U.S. banks, said Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

“There’s generally a conviction that it was Iran,” he told AFP.


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