In an interesting turn of events, an unnamed former US government official has revealed that the country is appointing Iran-based hackers as being the ones behind the attacks on Saudi oil company Aramco and Qatar’s natural gas producer RasGas.
What’s interesting about this statement is the fact that sources close to Saudi Aramco’s investigation on the cyberattacks that hit the company back in August have claimed that the culprits have been traced back to Romania
Although no evidence has been provided to support these claims, the anonymous sources appeared to be certain about the fact that East European cybercriminals – from Romania, to be more precise – were behind the attacks.
The former US official’s suspicions about Iran being behind the attacks against the Gulf companies are reinforced by a statement of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in which he stresses that the Middle Eastern country has focused many of its resources on enhancing its cyber capabilities, The Huffington Post reports
Although he didn’t make any clear connection between Iran and the attacks on Aramco and RasGas, Panetta highlighted the fact that the Shamoon virus, the one utilized in the attacks, carried an image of a burning US flag.
He named the cyberattacks as being among the most destructive ones the private sector had ever seen.
A second official who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed that the Obama administration knew precisely who was behind the attacks on the oil and gas companies, and underscored the fact that it was a state actor.
One noteworthy thing is that US agencies have been involved in the investigations and the result of their analysis has led them to believe that the resources of a state would be needed to conduct such an attack.
Panetta hasn’t provided many details on the Pentagon’s cyber capabilities, but he did emphasize the fact that the agency was prepared to take action if the US was threatened.