Tag Archives: Iran

Iranian Authorities Prevents Data Loss After Virus Discovered

The Iranian authorities have managed to avoid a potential disastrous data loss by responding very quickly and efficiently to a virus that was discovered at an oil terminal.

The malware was first discovered on Sunday and forced the Iranian authorities to disconnect the main oil export terminal on Kharg Island which is in the Persian Gulf. The virus name has yet to be disclosed but it was a data deleing virus which could have had catastrophic consequences if it wasn’t found when it was done. The Iranian authorities acted decisively and therefore prevented the virus from spreading and therefore made the actions that were undertaken very effective in containing it. The Iranian authorities have confirmed this and stated that they had to disconnect the oil export terminal so prevent the virus from spreading.

Iran’s deputy oil minister, Hamdolah Mohammadnejad has confirmed the events and told the official IRNA news agency that the actions implemented stopped the virus from spreading and therefore limiting the impact it could have had.

Mohammadnejad stated, “We shut computers connected to these servers temporarily and fortunately we were able to stop its spread. Thus no information or data were harmed. We are investigating the causes of these cyber problems and in the next two to three days we hope the problems will be solved.”

As an investigation is underway, David Harley who is a senior researcher at the anti-virus company ESET stated, “”At present, it is difficult to say exactly how the virus was able to infiltrate Iran’s systems. Iran’s computing environments are a little unusual, in that there are no legitimate channels for directly supplying and maintaining standard operating systems and apps. This may result in greater than usual exposure to all kinds of exploits.”

This case does prove that as long as decisive and calculated actions are taken when a threat such as a virus is found, data loss can be minimal or prevented all together. It is important that effective plans are in place alongside an effective security system and to ensure that everyone knows what they are meant to do in such an occasion.

Iranian Government are Likely Culprit Behind BBC Hack

Simultaneous cyber attacks have been directed at the BBC with Iranian authorities thought to be the culprit.

Satellite feeds into Iran have been jammed as well as automated calls jamming their London phone lines.

The source of this type of attack is extremely difficult to pinpoint however the multiplicity of BBC broadcast feeds being jammed in Iran points a very convincing finger at the Iranian government.

The government have long been suspicious of western media and often the only people able to access BBC broadcasts have been those who own illegal satellite receivers.

In general the level of censorship means that the form of Internet the Iranian people have access to bares no resemblance to that available in the West.

In addition during troubled times the Iranian government have often being known to slow internet speeds to a point whereby it is impossible to send/upload evidential videos or even photos.

The attacks are nothing new and BBC Persian staff are forced to conduct their work outside of Iran with their families being the victim of harassment and even arrest.

Director General Mark Thompson stated on Wednesday “We regard the coincidence of these attacks as self- evidently suspicious,” but said no further details would be released at this time.

“Nation states are honing their cyber warfare and cyber espionage skills, and such activity can only be expected to increase. As a result, the accurate attribution of cyber attacks has never been more important,” commented Ross Brewer, CEO at LogRhythm.

US Water Facility Hacked

It has been revealed that a water utility near Springfield, Illinois, was successfully attacked by hackers. The incident is now being investigated by US homeland security and FBI officials.

As a result of the attack, a water pump motor burn’t out when it was continuously switched on and off. This is the first time that a foreign hacker has successfully targeted a US industrial facility and gained access to controls. Fortunately for the people living in Illinois, who are dependent on the water from this pump, no supply issues were experienced. However, this hack has proven that the industrial facilities in the US can be breached and has prompted the US authorities to conduct a high-level investigation.

On the 8th November, a technician revealed that the system had been hacked from a computer in Russia. Joe Weiss, a cyber-security expert, made the incident public knowledge and summed up the attack in the Washington Post stating “This is a big deal.”

It has been reported in the US press that the hackers managed to compromise the company’s database by retrieving thee supervisory control and data acquisition (Scada) software. The hackers turned the Scada system on and off which resulted in the water pump motor burning out.

Peter Boogaard, the Homeland security spokesman, has told news agencies that officials have yet to confirm that the water pump burn out was a result of a cyber-attack. Boogaard stated. “At this time there is no credible corroborated data that indicates a risk to critical infrastructure entities or a threat to public safety.”

The Scada systems are vital to the functioning of the US industrial sector as they control water treatment facilities, railway switches, chemical plants and nuclear reactors. As a result of this, they are a prime target for attackers. The devastation that could be caused if the Scada systems are breached again could be on an unimaginable scale.

Scada Systems vulnerability was exposed last year when centrifuges at a uranium facility in Iran were attacked by Stuxnet. This is a virus which targets Scada Systems. US experts came to the conclusion that the virus Stuxnet increased the speed of uranium centrifuges to breaking point, while shutting off safety monitoring systems. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, did confirm that the system had been breached and that the virus had “managed to create problems for a limited number of our centrifuges.”

In 2007, researchers at the US government’s Idaho National Laboratories identified a weakness in the electricity grid’s defences and demonstrated the potential damage that a cyber-attacker could inflict on a large diesel generator.

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