Iran denies role in Gulf cyber attacks [thenational]

TEHRAN // Iranian officials denied any role in recent cyberattacks against oil and gas companies in the Arabian Gulf and said they welcomed a probe of the case, a semi-official news agency reported yesterday.

Mahdi Akhavan Bahabadi, secretary of the National Center of Cyberspace, denounced as “politically motivated” US allegations of an Iranian link to the Shamoon virus that hit the Saudi Arabian state oil company Aramco and the Qatari natural gas producer RasGas, according to remarks carried by ISNA.

“We interpret the issue politically and in light of US domestic issues as well as the [US presidential] election,” he said.

The virus can spread through networked computers and ultimately wipes out files by overwriting them. In the August attack it replaced them with images of burning American flags. The US defence secretary Leon Panetta said they rendered more than 30,000 computers useless, calling them probably the most destructive cyber-attacks the private sector has seen to date.

Last week a former US government official said American authorities believe that Iranian hackers, likely supported by the government, were responsible. US agencies have been assisting in the Gulf investigation and concluded that the level of resources needed to conduct the attack showed there was some degree of involvement by a nation state, said the former official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“American officials have said they are able to discover the source of the recent cyberattacks. We do welcome this and announce our readiness for any international cooperation to find the source of the attacks,” Mr Bahabadi said.


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