Computer hackers have moved beyond the U.S. military to cyber attack another enemy: Big Oil.
Recently, hackers hit Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, and disabled 30,000 of its workstations. A group of "hacktivists" calling themselves Cutting Sword of Justice released a statement on an online bulletin board the day the viral attack was released, taking credit for it.
"The disruption was suspected to be the result of a virus that had infected personnel workstations without affecting the primary components of the network," the Saudi Arabia-based company stated in a letter to customers about the cyber attack that was launched August 15. Later in the month, Saudi Aramco announced it had restored full network access, but only after the malware attack, called "Shamoon," reached 75 percent of its workstations.
Cutting Sword of Justice said in its online letter that plan was simply to take out 30,000 computers at Saudi Aramco. Since the oil producer is the main source of income for the Saudi government, the hackers say, it should be blamed for "crimes and atrocities" in several countries. The Cutting Sword of Justice had not been heard of before this cyber attack, and security experts have no information on the group.
They may get away with it. It appears that cutting Sword of Justice didn't do much more than cause headaches at Saudi Aramco, this time, but who knows when a similar tack affects the oil supply.