Computer virus targets Iran’s oil industry

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TEHRAN –- The Iranian Oil Ministry said its computer system was targeted by a computer virus, but it downplayed the impact of the attack.

The main oil export terminal was disconnected from the Internet in order to ensure that the virus would not spread to refineries or petrochemical plants, said a ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

All subsidiaries of the oil industry back up their data daily to protect against disruptions if data is corrupted, Deputy Oil Minister Hamdollah Mohammad Nejad told the Mehr news agency.

“There is no need to worry, as the general servers are separated from the main specialized ones and we had backup of all the ... data,” ministry spokesman Ali Nikzad told an industry news agency.


The reformist newspaper Etemad quoted an expert in network security as saying that the virus was a type of Trojan software, which redirects websites and systems to servers controlled by hackers.

Officials said they expected the system to return to normal within a few days.

Iran has been the target of cyber attacks before. In 2010 the Stuxnet computer worm attacked Iran’s nuclear program, reportedly causing the centrifuges used to enrich uranium to spin out of control. No one claimed responsibility, but there was speculation that American and Israeli engineers were behind it.


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