Feeds

Iran cuts off oil plants hit by mystery data-destroying virus

Lockdown as officials drill into malware riddle

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Malware discovered at an Iranian oil terminal forced Iran to disconnect key oil facilities on Sunday.

Authorities said an unnamed data-deleting virus prompted them to disconnect the main oil export terminal on Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf. The websites of the Iranian oil ministry and the National Iranian Oil firm went dark for two days after the virus first struck on Sunday. The sites were back up on Tuesday.

Hamdolah Mohammadnejad, Iran's deputy oil minister, who is leading a response committee, told the official IRNA news agency that rapid action had limited the virus's spread.

"We shut computers connected to these servers temporarily and fortunately we were able to stop its spread. Thus no information or data were harmed," he said.

"We are investigating the causes of these cyber problems and in the next two to three days we hope the problems will be solved," he added.

David Harley, senior research fellow at anti-virus firm ESET, commented: "At present, it is difficult to say exactly how the virus (if it was, in fact, a virus) was able to infiltrate Iran’s systems.

"Iran’s computing environments are a little unusual, in that there are no legitimate channels for directly supplying and maintaining standard operating systems and apps. This may result in greater [than] usual exposure to all kinds of exploits."

Although details are sketchy, it seems like the malware is unrelated to Stuxnet, a sophisticated worm that sabotaged control systems running uranium enrichment centrifuges at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility.

Harley added: "The Stuxnet payload is very hardware-specific, whereas this malware appears to have stolen and/or destroyed data. It may be related, of course, especially if it turns out that it is targeted.

"Without knowing the capabilities of the Iranian 'Cyber Crisis Committee', its usefulness depends on who is on it, their understanding of cyber attacks, and how much influence and authority they wield. It makes sense to have a proactive crisis management team. On the other hand, a team that is over-influenced by political or self-serving considerations may do more harm than good," the researcher said. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.