Saudi Arabia warns companies of increased cyber threat

Written by on January 23, 2017 in News with 0 Comments

illustration file picture. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Files

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia warned organizations in the kingdom on Monday to be on the alert for cyber attacks including a version of the destructive Shamoon virus, as a chemicals firm reported a network disruption and the labor ministry said it had been attacked.

An alert from the telecoms authority seen by Reuters advised all parties to be vigilant for attacks from the Shamoon 2 variant of the virus that in 2012 crippled of tens thousands of computers at oil giant Saudi Aramco.

State-controlled Al Ekhbariya TV said on Twitter, using the hashtag #Shamoon, that several Saudi organizations had been targeted in recent cyber attacks.

The state news agency, meanwhile, said the labor ministry had been hit by a cyber attack, but that it did not impact its data.

Jubail-based Sadara Chemical Co, a joint venture firm owned by Saudi Aramco and U.S. company Dow Chemical, said it had experienced a network disruption on Monday morning and was working to resolve the issue.

The company made the disclosure on its official Twitter account after the warning by Al Ekhbariya TV, which cited the telecoms authority.

It did not say whether the disruption was due to a cyber attack but said as a precautionary measure it had stopped all services related to the network.

Other companies in Jubail, the hub of the Saudi petrochemicals industry, also experienced network disruptions, according to sources who were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.

Those companies sought to protect themselves from the virus by shutting down their networks, said the sources, who declined to identify specific firms.

(Reporting by Reem Shamseddine; Writing By Maha El Dahan; Editing by Dominic Evans and Mark Potter)

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