Oil giant says cyber attack targeted economy

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AFP

About 93% of the companies surveyed in South Africa had at least one external IT security incident in the past 12 months.

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia - Oil giant Saudi Aramco said on Sunday that an August cyber attack on its computer network targeted not just the company but the kingdom's economy as a whole.

The interior ministry, which joined Aramco's investigation into the attack that affected some 30,000 of the firm's computers, said it was carried out by organised hackers from several different foreign countries.

“The attack targeted the whole economy of the country, not just Aramco as an entity,” said Abdullah al-Saadan, who headed the company's inquiry team.

“The aim was to stop pumping oil and gas to domestic and international markets,” he told reporters.

Interior ministry spokesman General Mansur al-Turki said the joint investigation had established that an “organised group launched the attack from outside the kingdom and from different countries.”

“It is in the interest of the investigation not to reveal any results,” he told reporters, stressing that “no Aramco employees or contractors were involved in the hacking.”

On August 27, Aramco said it had restored its main internal network after the August 15 attack, which it described as a “malicious virus that originated from external sources.”

The state-owned group which runs all Saudi Arabia's oil production said at the time that its oil exploration and production were unaffected “as they operate on isolated network systems.” - Sapa-AFP

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