Mega Saudi oil company’s electronic systems hit by PC virus

Saudi Arabian Oil Company, Saudi Aramco, cut the connection between its electronic systems and the internet after a virus hit its internal desktops, affecting some electronic systems.

“On Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, an official at Saudi Aramco confirmed that the company has isolated all its electronic systems from outside access as an early precautionary measure that was taken following a sudden disruption that affected some of the sectors of its electronic network,” Aramco said on its Facebook page.

The state-owned oil giant issued a statement confirming the cause of the disruption was a desktop virus but said it had not affected its production operations. The statement [[xref: |followed rumours spread amongst traders|]] earlier on Wednesday that the company had been hit by a hacking attack, according to Reuters.

“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 company’s [[xref: |Facebook statement|]] reads.

Details of the virus that affected Aramco are not known but follow a series of what security researchers consider complex malware threats tailored to target Middle Eastern nations. The list of malware currently known includes Stuxnet, Duqu, Flame and now Gauss.

Stuxnet is the only piece of malware known to have made the leap from PC systems to the physical destruction of equipment that was achieved through vulnerabilities in Siemens controllers for critical infrastructure.

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