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Mysterious Cyber Attack on Iranian Oil Data

Iran has confirmed that a cyber attack hit its Oil Ministry data systems. It claims there was no damage, but its website is inaccessible.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 4/23/2012, 3:22 PM

Crude oil tanker
Crude oil tanker
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Iran has confirmed that a cyber attack hit its Oil Ministry data systems. It claims there was no damage, but the National Iranian Oil Company website was inaccessible as of Monday.

Oil ministry spokesman  Alireza Nikzad told the government-run Fars News Agency, "This cyber attack has not damaged the main data of the oil ministry and the National Iranian Oil Company since the general servers are separate from the main servers; even their cables are not linked to each other and are not linked to Internet service.

"We have a backup from all our main or secondary data, and there is no problem in this regard.”

He said the virus was identified as “Viper” and was aimed at deleting data off the servers. The attack was focused on the Kharg Island oil export terminal, where 2.2 million barrels of crude oil are transferred every day.

Iranian officials last month said the country is strengthening its cyber power through a newly-formed Supreme Council of Cyberspace following the Stuxnet attack on its nuclear facilities last year, widely attributed to Israel and the United States.

The establishment of the agency, headed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was seen by observers as a tool of the Islamic Republic to take more control over Internet users and content, including social networking that can be used to organize opposition elements.