Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/24/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Cyber war has been ongoing for over a year.

More disruptive than a bomb, cleaner than a suicide attack, and more prestigious than a fleet of ships, computer viruses have become the weapon du jour for many nations, including the United States and China to Israel and Iran. Recently, world virus experts were shocked to see Iran added to the list of capable attackers with what is believed to be a strike on Saudi oil facilities. 

Cyberattacks can be every bit as devastating as bombs.

Cyberattacks can be every bit as devastating as bombs.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/24/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Shamoon, virus, computer, Iran, Aramco


PALO ALTO, CA (Catholic Online) - The attack appears to be the latest in an escalating cyber war involving Iran. 

At 11:08 a.m., on August 15, Iran stuck the largest Saudi oil firm, Saudi Aramco, with a devastating attack. The attack went unnoticed because that was also a major Islamic holiday and the offices were closed. 
A virus, later dubbed "Shamoon" after a word in a line of its code, was set to work by someone with privileged access to the company's computers. 

While employees were home preparing for the holiday, Shamoon was erasing data on a full three-quarters of the company's computers. 

As Shamoon erased material ranging from documents, to spreadsheets, to random files, it replaced each with the same image of a burning American flag. 

Middle Eastern hackers identifying themselves as the "Cutting Sword of Justice" claimed responsibility. However, something didn't seem right about that. 

Independent researchers from a private firm in California dissected a sample of the virus and concluded that there were several suspicious elements within the virus designed to confuse and throw investigators off track. 

They concluded that the virus originated in Iran and US Intelligence officials agreed after concluding their own assessment. 

Among the more suspicious clues was a reference to the Persian Gulf as the "Arabian Gulf." The Iranians insist on calling it the Persian Gulf, however use of the term "Arabian" might throw off investigators and have them looking everywhere but Iran. 

Combined with the image of the burning flag and the supposed claim of responsibility, examiners became highly suspicious of Shamoon's true origins. 

It was a case of "methinks you doth protest too much."

These were recently described by US officials as a "red herring." However, the actual smoking gun was part of the code itself, known as "wiper." Wiper was the name given to a feature in the Flame computer virus that was used to attack Iran's oil production facilities. It is believed that Flame and an earlier predecessor, Stuxnet, were created by US and Israeli experts to attack Iran. 

The inclusion of a virtually identical "wiper" in Shamoon suggests that Iran, which has plenty of copies of Flame, was the author of the new virus. 

What all this suggests is that a full-scale cyber-war between the US and Iran, and involving allies throughout the region including Saudi Arabia and Israel, has begun. It also suggests that countries that supposedly lack sophistication, can still manage to make devastating attacks. 

If so, then the attack is a wake-up call to American officials and people around the world. It suggests that virtually anybody can strike even the most critical facilities around the globe, without the need for direct violence. Such attacks can be every bit as disruptive as a bomb. 

A cyber attack on critical infrastructure can snarl traffic, prevent the movement of critical assets such as water and fuel, and could even drain bank accounts of money. All these things could prove useful to an adversary in a wartime situation. 

What civilian bombing did  to populations a century ago, cyber warfare threatens to do to us today. It should be enough to give pause and careful consideration to our next moves abroad. 


---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Middle East

DRIVING MILITANTS OUT: Houthi positions in Yemen targeted by Saudi Arabia Watch

Image of The air campaign began at 7 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, according to Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Backed by other Gulf States and Egypt Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against Houthi militants in Yemen. The airstrikes were in response to the Yemeni president fleeing his palace ahead of advancing fighters. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Saudi Arabia builds megacity in middle of desert at cost of $100 billion Watch

Image of KAEC has its own website showing plans for the city, including details on how to invest in its growth.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The King Abdullah Economic City, or KAEC -- pronounced "cake," is being constructed by Saudi Arabia. The planned megacity in the desert will be slightly larger than Washington D.C. and home to approximately two million residents. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


'Death to America' Iran's Supreme Leader declares on even on nuclear weapon agreement Watch

Image of When the crowd started shouting,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the United States works with Iran for a comprehensive nuclear weapons treat, Iran's Supreme leader Ali Khamenei called for "Death to America" this past weekend. It was contradictory news as it came shortly after President Barack Obama appealed to Iran to ... continue reading


The Obama administration steps on more toes: U.S. moves from Israeli-Palestinian peace talks toward United Nations forced two-state resolution in Middle East crisis Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The continuous efforts to get Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peaceful agreement on land has potentially reached its peak. The United States is edging closer to supporting the United Nations Security Council in forcing a final peace settlement, a lasting two-state ... continue reading


Netanyahu takes overwhelming victory despite left-wing busing Arabs to polls during Israeli election Watch

Image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a message posted on Facebook declared that left-wing non-governmental organizations, or NGOs and foreign governments attempted to influence the Israeli election. He says that these entities bussed Arabs to the polls.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a message posted on Facebook declared that left-wing non-governmental organizations, or NGOs and foreign governments were attempting to influence the upcoming Israeli election. He says that these entities intended to bus ... continue reading


'We will blacken your life and blow up your White House.' ISIS makes direct threats in new audio accepting Boko Haram's allegiance Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"We want, Allah willing, Paris before Rome and before Al-Andalus [Spain and Portugal], [and] after that we will blacken your life and blow up your White House, Big Ben, and the Eiffel Tower, Allah willing," Islamic State spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani warns in a ... continue reading


ISIS may hate the West - but loves our junk food! Watch

Image of Most of their meals seem to be washed down with an assortment of cavity-inducing sodas.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Islamic State loves to videotape torture and mayhem to post to the shared outrage of the outside world. Now, ISIS has posted pictures glorifying their notoriously bad dietary standards. McDonald's food, sugary sodas, chocolate desserts are all on the menu for ... continue reading


Sickening new photos claim to show Iraqi troops torturing ISIS prisoners in 'revenge attacks' (Warning: Graphic Photos) Watch

Image of Horrific photos claim to show Iraqi troops imitating ISIS.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New sickening ISIS-related pictures have been made public. The various pictures show every type of torture ISIS has inflicted in previous propaganda videos and pictures. However, there is one detail that makes these new photos stand out among the others. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


ISIS child fighter brutally murders man accused of spying for Israel Watch

Image of 19-year-old Mohamed Said Ismail Musallam, an Israeli of Palestinian decent, was executed by the Islamic State after being caught attempting to leave Syria. He was accused of being an Israeli spy.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has sunk to a new low, releasing a new video, that also warns just how far the ISIS reach extends. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This recent film from the terrorist group shows a child murdering a man who the Islamic State claims is an Israeli ... continue reading


A CRY FOR HELP: Christian leaders call out as Assyrian Christians threatened by ISIS in northern Syria Watch

Image of While ISIS later freed 20 Assyrian Christians, a report that it had later released several Assyrian Christians last week proved to be false.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Leaders are begging the world for help for the plight of Assyrian Christians. ISIS militants have since stepped up their attacks against their towns in northern Syria. Northeast Hassakeh province is emerging as the new battlefield in the fight against extremist ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 20:10-13
10 I heard so many disparaging me, 'Terror on every ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 18:2-3, 3-4, 5-6, 7
2 Yahweh is my rock and my fortress, my deliverer is ... Read More

Gospel, John 10:31-42
31 The Jews fetched stones to stone him,32 ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 27th, 2015 Image

St. Rupert
March 27: Bishop and missionary, also listed as Robert of Hrodbert. A ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter