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Page added on August 30, 2012

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Cyber War Envelops Middle East

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Iran has already been hit by Flame, Duqu, and Stuxnet. Now we are learning of a more mysterious attack against Iran’s oil infrastructure by malware called “Wiper:”

Wiper was an aggressive piece of malware that targeted machines belonging to the Iranian Oil Ministry and the National Iranian Oil Company in April.

…No one has ever found a sample of Wiper in order to study its code and determine exactly what it did to machines in Iran, but Kaspersky did obtain mirror images of “dozens” of hard drives that had been hit by the malware.

Although the disks were thoroughly wiped in most cases, leaving no malware behind – or much of anything else – the researchers did find evidence of its previous existence on some of the systems that weren’t completely wiped. The evidence came in the form of a registry key that pointed to files that had been on the machines before being erased.

According to Kaspersky, the wiping activity occurred between April 21 and April 30. Wiper’s erase operation focused initially on destroying data on the first half of a disk, then systematically erasing system files, causing the systems to crash and preventing them from rebooting… _Wired

Spread of Duqu

But Iran has not been entirely passive in this cyber-war. A recent cyber attack against Saudi Aramco — Saudi Arabia’s state energy company — is thought to have originated with groups allied with Iran.

Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national energy company, said on Sunday it had repaired 30,000 workstations infected with a malicious virus earlier this month….

…A group calling itself the “Cutting Sword of Justice” claimed responsibility for the attacks. The group accused the Saudi Arabian government of supporting “crimes and atrocities” in countries such as Syria and Egypt, according to a post on Pastebin.

Saudi Aramco said it expected further intrusions. “Saudi Aramco is not the only company that became a target for such attempts, and this was not the first nor will it be the last illegal attempt to intrude into our systems, and we will ensure that we will further reinforce our systems with all available means to protect against a recurrence of this type of cyber-attack.” _CW

Saudi Oil

Saudi Aramco is right to expect further attacks, just as the Iranian Oil Ministry should expect further attacks. In fact, all middle eastern oil production in and around the Persian Gulf is vulnerable to one type of malware or another. Whoever controls the flow of oil will be able to most global oil markets hostage to potentially devastating price swings.

Earlier this year, a group of international experts at the Herzliya Conference imagined a very different scenario — a far more drastic one — in which a sophisticated attack on Abqaiq was directed by Iran and carried out from within. In the simulation, a series of explosions, along with a cyber-weapon, crippled the facility…

…The results of this simulated attack, detailed here in full for the first time, were profoundly disturbing. The price of oil skyrocketed to over $200 per barrel. The House of Saud, and the territorial integrity of the kingdom, were existentially threatened. Saudi Arabia’s neighbors — Jordan, Iraq, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman — were destabilized. Developing countries that use oil for electricity were propelled into war, both civil and external.

And Iran, the world’s third-largest producer of oil, authoritatively recognized as the perpetrator of the attack, reaped the rewards, its influence growing throughout the Middle East as the demand for oil outpaced the supply, and the Shiite populations in the Gulf — increasingly unrestful throughout the Arab Spring revolutions — rose up in arms.

“The simulation showed that global over-reliance on Saudi oil and our over-reliance on Saudi stability, would give Iran, in the case of such an attack, carte blanche in the Middle East — and that’s without a nuclear weapon,” said Tommy Steiner, the author of the report… _How Iran Might Triumph Even Without Nukes

The evolution of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks has just begun, and every industrial facility and information network is clearly at risk.

There is a limit to how well protected large networks can be and still function. In this situation, resilient backups will be increasingly important.

Al Fin

7 Comments on "Cyber War Envelops Middle East"

  1. BillT on Thu, 30th Aug 2012 3:50 pm 

    War without blood…nice!

    Do you have spare cash for when the “warfare” turns to banks and ATMs?

  2. Arthur on Thu, 30th Aug 2012 3:56 pm 

    Do not expect the term ‘terrorism’ to be applied to these kind of practises.

    Hypocrasy in action.

    Talking about terrorism, the Canadian-born Israeli writer Barry Chamish yesterday (08/29/2012 broadcast) admitted that the 9/11 researcher Christopher Bollyn was right and that Israel did 9/11. Quit a breakthrough.

  3. Arb William Trucolm on Thu, 30th Aug 2012 4:35 pm 

    Yes. I understand that most mental hospital patients and top security prisoners in Eastern Germany also agree with Christopher Bollyn. Obviously you are on the right track there.

    Keep up the good fight. By the year 2050 we are likely to see great progress in the cause, or at least by 2100.

  4. Arthur on Thu, 30th Aug 2012 8:50 pm 

    Former Italian president Cossiga, former German cabinet minister Andreas von Buelow and former British cabinet minister Michael Meacher effectively also agreed with Bollyn that Israel was behind the attacks. Not exactly the usual inhabitants of the luny ward, would you not agree? And then there is there was Yukihisa Fujita, the Japanese parlamentarian, who was allowed to address the parlement of the second largest economy of the world about 9/11-truth on prime time tv, an unprecedented situation. Sneers to mental hospitals are impotent in that light.

  5. BillT on Fri, 31st Aug 2012 12:51 am 

    Arb, are you an ostrich with your head in the sand or some other place dark and quiet? 9/11 was an inside job. That was obvious on the day it happened to anyone in the construction or airline business.
    When the first tower went down, I knew it was a controlled demo job. And NO airliner deviates off of it’s flight path for over 20 minutes without a military jet scrambled to check it out. To have 4 at the same time means someone was told to not see what was happening. That is just the beginning of the list of clues pointing to an inside job.

  6. Arthur on Fri, 31st Aug 2012 9:55 am 

    You cannot beat Arb’s cynicism when he smears that alledgedly 911-truth is getting nowhere, when at the same the US justice (sic) is doing everything it can to obstruct any 911 tril from happening. Now the talk is of postponement of the trial for another four years:

    And if that is going to happen (likely not before ww3) nobody is going to witness it, so the public cannot see the tortured bodies of patsies like KSM.

    AIPAC Washington is a dinosaur and as such rules the planet. Unfortunately there is a 5 mile meteor approaching the planet at a speed of 60 miles per second. That meteor is the internet. And everybody knows that dinosaurs are allergic to meteors, to put it mildly, and cannot survive one.

  7. Arthur on Sat, 1st Sep 2012 8:05 am 

    The White House, Congress and many departments are under strict control of The Lobby. Not so the army:

    But the most danger for The Lobby emanates from the millions of veterans who know first hand about the consequences of the policies they had to implement. And they know how to shoot.

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