Malware Attack Targets Iran's Oil Industry

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A virus recently attacked key parts of Iran's oil industry, including the Oil Ministry and the Kharg Island export terminal.

"Local news agencies reported on Monday that a virus had struck the computer and communication systems of Iran's main oil export facilities on Kharg Island as well as the internal network and the websites of its oil ministry and subsidiary organisations," writes The Guardian's Saeed Kamali Dehghan. "The semi-official Mehr news agency quoted ministry officials as saying an investigation was under way. 'We are making plans to neutralise this cyber-attack,' said the deputy oil minister in charge of civil defence, Hamdollah Mohammadnejad."

"The Internet access of employees in the Tehran offices and operational sites of the Oil Ministry, NIOC, the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Co. as well as Iran’s National Petrochemical Co. has been interrupted in an effort to contain the malware, Mehr said, citing an unidentified official with the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Co," writes Bloomberg's Ladane Nasseri.

"The Fars News Agency, an Iranian news organization widely viewed as being pro-government, quoted Alireza Nikzad, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Oil, as saying that the attack did some limited damage but ultimately failed," writes Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar.

"However, the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum said in a statement on Monday that an attack had succeeded in stealing data from non-essential systems," writes ZDNet UK's Tom Espiner.

"The attack comes amid heightened tensions between the West and Iran over that country's nuclear ambitions," notes Threatpost's Paul Roberts. "Smarting under international economic sanctions and fearing a military strike by the U.S. or its allies designed to degrade its nuclear enrichment facilities, the Islamic Republic has threatened to cut off the Strait of Hormuz, a key conduit for oil exports from the Gulf."

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