Iran engaged in cyber attacks against Saudi Arabia

Washington Free Beacon:
After a four-year hiatus, Iran recently resumed destructive cyber attacks against Saudi Arabia in what U.S. officials say is part of a long-term strategy by Tehran to take over the oil-rich kingdom and regional U.S. ally.

Late last month, the Saudi government warned in a notice to telecommunications companies that an Iranian-origin malicious software called Shamoon had resurfaced in cyber attacks against some 15 Saudi organizations, including government networks.

The Shamoon malware was last detected in the 2012 cyber attack against the major Saudi state oil producer Aramco. That cyber attack damaged or destroyed some 30,000 computers and was considered one of the more destructive state-linked cyber attacks to date.

A State Department security report issued Feb. 10 stated that the 2012 attack destroyed over three-fourths of Aramco's computers, and that the damage took five months to mitigate at "an extreme cost."

Shamoon also was used in Iranian cyber attacks against RasGas, a liquified natural gas company located in neighboring Qatar.

A new version of the malware, Shamoon 2, was linked to the recent cyber attack, which took place in November. Security officials linked that attack to a Middle East hacker group known as Greenbug that used fraudulent emails in phishing scams to acquire login credentials for Saudi networks.
Once inside compromised computer networks, the Iranian hackers were able to steal large amounts of data. They then destroyed the computers using a digital wiping tool that removes all data from the system. The hacked computers were left with a screen image.

In the 2012 Saudi Aramco attack, the Iranians left an image of a burning American flag image. After the November cyber attack, the hackers left a screen image of a dead Syrian refugee boy.
The Iranian cyber attacks are one element of a larger Iranian strategy to subvert and ultimately take over Saudi Arabia, the location of Islam's holy sites, according to U.S. officials.
The Trump administration appears to be ready to lift an arms embargo for precision guided bombs that Obama had imposed.  Iran's war with the Saudis and other Gulf states may get hotter.


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