Saudi central bank denies hack

04 December 2016

Malware that hit Aramco in 2012 returns to the kingdom

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (Sama), the kingdom’s central bank, has denied that its systems have been affected by Iranian malware.

Investigations into a breach are ongoing, according to Bloomberg.

“Sama has confirmed that its systems remain unaffected, and have not been hacked,” Sama said in a statement. “Sama indicated that it has a set of effective protection measures, as well as continuous and advanced monitoring measures against such potential threats.”

Eight Saudi government entities including Sama, the Ministry of Transport and the General Authority for Civil Aviation, were affected by malware known as Shamoon, Bloomberg reports.

The Shamoon malware, associated with Iran, was previously used in an attack against oil major Saudi Aramco in 2012, destroying 35,000 computers.

Several thousand computers have been affected by an almost identical program, which overwrites the computer’s masterboot record, meaning it cannot be switched on. It can spread from an infected computer throughout a network.

Cybersecurity is seen as a growing issue for organisations in the region, after Qatar National Bank suffered a major data breach earlier in 2016.

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