Officials: Iran Behind Saudi Oil Firm Cyberattack

American intelligence officials believe a computer virus that damaged one of the world's most valuable companies was a return volley by Iran in a cyber conflict initiated by the U.S. and Israel, The New York Times reported. In August, the Shamoon virus erased three-quarters of Saudi Aramco's corporate PC's in one of the most destructive acts of computer sabotage on a company to date. Computer security researchers noted that Shamoon's erasing mechanism name was the same as the erasing component in a computer virus that attacked Iranian oil companies in May, raising suspicions that the Aramco hacking was retaliation. The Times reported in June that the U.S., together with Israel, was responsible for the 2010 Stuxnet virus that destroyed centrifuges in an Iranian nuclear facility. The finger-pointing demonstrates the growing concern in the U.S. that other countries have the technology and skill to initiate attacks. “The Iranians were faster in developing an attack capability and bolder in using it than we had expected,” said James A. Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Both sides are going through a dance to figure out how much they want to turn this into a fight.”

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