Iranian hackers have hit Bahrain’s national oil company as a new report finds that Iranian state-sponsored hackers have also been targeting US power utilities.
The attack in Bahrain targeted oil company Bapco and is said to have involved the use of the new strain of data-wiping malware.
Dubbed “Dustman” by the Saudi Arabia National Cybersecurity Authority, the malware, designed to delete data on an infected computer, was quickly detected with only minor disruptions on Bapco’s network.
Jason Kent, hacker in residence at application security firm Cequence Security Inc, noted that these groups are looking for ways to cause the greatest amount of disruption with the least amount of effort possible.
“Because our electrical grid and gas systems are largely run by regional monopolies, the attackers cannot focus on one target,” he said. “This can be a protective measure so long as each of these organisations has tightened security to the NERCCIP standards that govern the security of the grid.”
The problem, Kent said, is that security standards often have certain holes and can allow for an attacker to gain access. “These holes are what they are counting on,” he said.
“Once in, deleting files or causing damage to networks, has been their goal. Hopefully, they won’t move on to more sophisticated attacks targeting the destruction of sensitive systems like our nuclear power generation systems.”