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Iran says its infosec defences foiled oil hack

Alleges Israel tried to take down oil platforms, with Chinese involvement

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Iran is claiming to have successfully deflected yet another large scale cyber attack on critical infrastructure in the country, this time targeted at its offshore oil installations.

A brief report on the Iranian Students’ News Agency site on Monday seemed to accuse Israel and China of being behind an attack on the National Iranian Offshore Oil Company (NIOOC), a subsidiary of the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company.

However, a more comprehensive version of events reported by Fars News Agency, fingers Israel as being the sole perpetrator, but routing the attack through various different IP addresses including some in China.

The NIOOC’s IT boss Mohammad Reza Golshani explained that the attack was foiled thanks to its practice of separating internet and intranet-based machines.

No infrastructure damage or data loss resulted from the attack, although incoming phone calls to the oil platforms were barred at one stage, Golshani claimed.

The incident is yet another example of the increasing pressure on Iranian critical infrastructure organisations. Iran insists that pressure is a result of state-sponsored attackers.

Back in April, authorities were forced to disconnect key oil facilities after a data-deleting virus was discovered on computers at a key oil export terminal in the Persian Gulf.

In June, the Iranian government said it had uncovered a massive planned cyber attack on its nuclear facilities in the aftermath of failed international talks focusing on the repressive Islamic republic’s nuclear programme.

The incident sparked memories of the infamous Stuxnet attack discovered in 2010 which is thought to have been launched by the US and Israel in a sophisticated attempt to sabotage said programme. ®

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