Monday, 23 April 2012
Stuxnet Strikes Again! Iranian Oil Facility Goes “offline”

Iranian Petro Chemical Facility

Source: AP

According to reports from the BBC and Reuters, Iran’s oil facilities and Ministry were hit by the Stuxnet malware on Sunday shutting down operations.  The Ministry website is back up today; however, the national oil company website is not. If this latest malware attack is prolonged and not readily corrected it could put a serious crimp in Iran’s ability to supply oil to the international energy commodity markets. Whoever engineered this latest attack understood what impact this would have on the Islamic Republic’s economy. The Kharg Island facility, which handles 90% of Iran’s oil production, was affected.

In a separate report in mid-April by The Verge, US and other intelligence services reported that Israel may have used proxies to insert the Stuxnet malworms in the Natanz enrichment facility using USB memory sticks. Perhaps, that may have been the method used in this latest attack on Iran’s oil management software system.

Here is the BBC report

Iran has been forced to disconnect key oil facilities after suffering a malware attack on Sunday, say reports.

The computer virus is believed to have hit the internal computer systems at Iran's oil ministry and its national oil company.

Equipment on the Kharg Island and at other Iranian oil plants has been disconnected from the net as a precaution.

Oil production had not been affected by the attack, said the Mehr news agency.

However, the attack is believed to have been responsible for knocking offline the websites of the Iranian oil ministry and national oil company.

The Ministry website was back in action on Monday but the oil company site has remained unreachable.

An Iranian oil ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying that data about users of the sites had been stolen as a result of the attack. Core data about Iran's oil industry remained safe because it was on computer systems that remain separate from the net, they added.

The terminal on Kharg Island handles about 90% of Iran's oil exports.

Iran is reported to have mobilized a "cyber crisis committee" to handle the aftermath of the attack and bolster defenses.

This committee was set up following attacks in 2010 by a virus known as Stuxnet that was aimed at the nation's nuclear program.

Posted on 04/23/2012 11:34 AM by Jerry Gordon
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