New Virus In Cyber-warfare Targets Energy Sector

Editor’s Note:  In May 2011, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Pentagon: Cyber Attacks Can Count as Acts of War.”  The article began, “The Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.”

Cyber-terrorists have a new virus weapon aimed at destroying nationwide energy systems has been discovered by cyber-security teams.

The virus, “Shamoon,” has reported already caused problems for Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco, the nation’s national oil company, had its network taken offline because of the virus spreading in their system.

“Shamoon” is different than previous cyber attacks in the middle east because the aim is to destroy computers rather than just covertly steal information. The new virus corrupts files and overwrites the master book record of the computer so that it no longer functions.

However, before the files are completely wiped, copies of the files are sent to the control center of the virus operator.

If the virus is able to spread within a system, it could render a national power grid or energy system inoperable for days or weeks.


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