Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

8/30/2012
05:10 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Second Middle Eastern Utility Hit By Malware Attack

Qatar gas company hack similar pattern as that of Saudi Arabian oil company -- shades of Shamoon?

Qatar’s RasGas -- one of the largest natural gas producers in the world -- is the latest Middle Eastern utility this month to suffer a major malware attack that took down some of its internal systems.

According to a Reuters report, RasGas detected "an unknown" virus on its office computers on Monday, and its website and email servers appeared to be offline as well.

The attack is eerily reminiscent of the one experienced this month by Saudi Aramco, which spread to 30,000 of the massive oil company's workstations -- the same number quoted by the attackers who took responsibility for the attack and gave a hat tip to Shamoon malware research in an online post. Neither Saudi Aramco nor security researchers who have studied the malware in the oil company attack would confirm the connection, but one source with knowledge of the attacks confirmed that the attack on Saudi Aramco was Shamoon. Like Saudi Aramco, RasGas said its production systems were not hit in the attack. "Operational systems both onsite and offshore are secure and this does not affect production at the Ras Laffan Industrial City plant or scheduled cargoes," the company said in a statement reported by Reuters.

It's unclear whether the RasGas attacks came from Shamoon. Some security experts say Shamoon is part of a wider campaign of attacks than was first believed. Shamoon isn't your typical targeted attack: It's not all about spying or stealing information, but instead it's aimed at total annihilation of the data and machines.

Shamoon, a.k.a. W32.Disttrack, not only trashes files, but also overwrites the system's Master Boot Record (MBR) to disable the computer altogether. It's made up of three components: a dropper that also unleashes other modules; a wiper that performs the destruction element of the attack; and a reporter, which reports the progress of the attack back to the attacker. The wiper component deletes the existing driver and overwrites the signed one.

Speculation has run high over who is behind the Shamoon attacks, everything from a traditional hacktivist group to the Iranian government.

ICS-CERT yesterday issued Website and alert on Shamoon. "Because of the highly destructive functionality of the Shamoon “Wiper” module, an organization infected with the malware could experience operational impacts including loss of intellectual property (IP) and disruption of critical systems. Actual impact to organizations vary, depending on the type and number of systems impacted," the alert says.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
News
Former CISA Director Chris Krebs Discusses Risk Management & Threat Intel
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  2/23/2021
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
Security + Fraud Protection: Your One-Two Punch Against Cyberattacks
Joshua Goldfarb, Director of Product Management at F5,  2/23/2021
News
Cybercrime Groups More Prolific, Focus on Healthcare in 2020
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/22/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Building the SOC of the Future
Building the SOC of the Future
Digital transformation, cloud-focused attacks, and a worldwide pandemic. The past year has changed the way business works and the way security teams operate. There is no going back.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-27670
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-25
Appspace 6.2.4 allows SSRF via the api/v1/core/proxy/jsonprequest url parameter.
CVE-2021-27671
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-25
An issue was discovered in the comrak crate before 0.9.1 for Rust. XSS can occur because the protection mechanism for data: and javascript: URIs is case-sensitive, allowing (for example) Data: to be used in an attack.
CVE-2020-9051
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-24
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: The CNA or individual who requested this candidate did not associate it with any vulnerability during 2020. Notes: none.
CVE-2020-9052
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-24
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: The CNA or individual who requested this candidate did not associate it with any vulnerability during 2020. Notes: none.
CVE-2020-9053
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-24
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: The CNA or individual who requested this candidate did not associate it with any vulnerability during 2020. Notes: none.