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News

Energy Sector Becomes Target For Newly Discovered Malware

LogRhythm : 20 August, 2012  (Technical Article)
Discovery of new malware puts oil industry on alert with the prospect of data loss through malicious cyber attacks
Energy Sector Becomes Target For Newly Discovered Malware
Researchers have discovered a new computer worm, alternately dubbed Shamoon or Disttrack, containing the string "wiper" in the Windows file directory. Researchers have dubbed the attack as notable due to its malicious nature. The attack reportedly targets an organisation in the energy industry, with researchers predicting that it is aimed at oil companies. The malware operates by permanently wiping data from an infected computer's hard drive, rendering the machine unusable.

Ross Brewer, vice president and managing director International Markets, LogRhythm, has made the following comments:

“With the increasing computerisation of critical infrastructure services, the energy and utility industries have never been more vulnerable to cyber attacks. The most recently discovered Shamoon malware – which follows a string of other sophisticated viruses such as Stuxnet, Flame and Gauss – highlights the cascading effect that an attack can have on other infrastructure sectors and capabilities.

“A fundamental challenge faced by utilities is that supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, which are in charge of infrastructure control systems, were never really designed to be secure – at least not from an IT perspective. With much of existing national infrastructure developed prior to the rise of the Internet, the focus of control system security is often limited to physical assets. Unfortunately, all the signs point to the threat landscape only getting worse for utilities.

“One can only hope that the growing number of attacks aimed at these critical systems will serve as a wakeup call to policy makers across both private and public sectors. It is a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’, they get attacked, and both public and private entities must take adequate steps to ensure the ongoing security of their systems.  As such, they must look to security intelligence platforms that have the capabilities to combine continuous event correlation for early threat detection, deep forensic search to understand the scope of impact and attack origin, as well as rapid and intelligent response to remediate any potential damage in real time.”
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