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What Saudi ARAMCO can learn from the Shamoon virus attack
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 27 - 08 - 2012


Muhammad Mashat
Al-Madinah newspaper
SAUDI Aramco's computer systems were hacked into recently and it is alleged that nearly 30,000 of its 50,000 computers were affected as a result. Saudi Aramco released a statement saying that some of its workstations were affected by the virus and that vital operations had not been affected.
Experts said Aramco's computer systems were infected by the Shamoon malware virus, a Trojan horse that steals files from computers and then renders them useless by overwriting key system files and the Master Boot Record (MBR). The virus sends all stolen files to a remote control center. It is worth noting that Aramco was not the only company that has been attacked by such a virus. Aramco has highly efficient anti-hacking and firewall software; however, hackers never stop developing new methods and ways to attack computer systems.
Perhaps this incident will force Aramco to review its IT and computer systems policies, especially policies that allow multiple users access to both unclassified and classified information at the same time. Aramco should also reconsider the policy which allows expatriate employees to run information systems and then divulge such information following their exit from the country.
In my opinion, such policies expose our companies' systems to hackers.


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