Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer said all its 30,000 workstations are now operational after fixing its main internal computer networks infected by a virus on August 15. The company prevented further damage by shutting down its electronic systems immediately following its discovery of the cyber attack.
The company said the virus did not affect the oil exploration and production of the Saudi Aramco because it runs on an isolated system.
In a statement, Saudi Aramco assured its stakeholders and customers that the company’s overall oil and gas operations are back to normal and reliable. Khalif al-Falih, CEO of Saudi Aramco said, “We would like to emphasize and assure our stakeholders, customers and partners that our core businesses of oil and gas exploration, production and distribution from the wellhead to the distribution network were unaffected and are functioning as reliably as ever.”
Al Falih also added Saudi Aramco is not the only victim of cyber attacks and promised the company will heightened the security of its systems to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents. He said, “Saudi Aramco is not the only company that became a target for such attempts, and this was not the first nor will it be the last illegal attempt to intrude into our systems. We will ensure that we will further reinforce our systems with all available means to protect against a recurrence of this type of cyber attack.”
Reuters observed the company’s website (www.aramco.com), which was also affected by the virus, was still down on Sunday. The new agency said its e-mails sent to individual in the company bounced back.
Saudi Aramco is investigating the cause of the virus and the individuals responsible in the attack. The company said incident originated from external sources.
A group known as “Cutting Sword of Justice” claimed responsibility in launching the virus to destroy the 30,000 workstations of Saudi Aramco, which is the main source of income of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The group blamed the Kindom for the “crimes and atrocities” for supporting Sunni Muslim leaders and rebels in the Middle East particularly in Bahrain and Syria.
Following the cyber attack on Saudi Aramco’s main internal computer networks, Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC), one of the leading internet security companies in the world said a new virus known as W32.Disttrack was identified by the company, which targets one organization in the global energy sector. Symantec said the virus is a destructive malware that corrupts files on a compromised compute and overwrites the Master Boot Record (MBR) making the computer unusable.
Iran’s Oil Ministry and oil company networks have been victims of cyber attacks last April.