Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco has recently acknowledged that a data leak took place in their organization. This data leak has led to an extortion attempt where hackers have demanded a $50M ransom.
It is noteworthy that Saudi Aramco is the world’s most valuable oil producer. The organization has told the Associated Press that it discovered a limited amount of data leak. This data was most likely held by third-party contractors of the company.
Details of the Data Leak and Ransom Demand
An article in Bloomberg quoted a statement from Aramco, “Aramco recently became aware of the indirect release of a limited amount of company data which was held by third-party contractors.” The statement continued, “We confirm that the release of data was not due to a breach of our systems, has no impact on our operations, and the company continues to maintain a robust cybersecurity posture.”
Earlier, it was reported by the Associated Press that 1 TB of Saudi Aramco’s data was held by the malicious actors. This was discovered after the Associated Press accessed a web page on the darknet. It was further revealed that the oil drilling firm was offered a chance to recover the lost data with a payment of $50M in cryptocurrency.
Critical Energy Infrastructure Face Cyber Threats
There has been a surge in cyber attacks targeting the global energy industry. The highly damaging ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline in the US is another example of how critical energy infrastructure is being targeted by cyber attackers.
This is not the first time that Aramco has become a target for cyber attackers. In 2012, the Shamoon virus targeted Saudi Aramco and ended up infecting 30,000 computers. This was a part of cyber warfare. Along with this, an article published in the Arab News revealed that around 7 Million Cyber Attacks Hit Saudi Arabia In The First Two Months Of 2021.
But Saudi Arabia’s measures to improve cyber security were even recognized globally as the Global Cyber Security Index 2020 placed the country in 2nd spot. Hopefully, the measures taken by Saudi Arabia will help in the prevention of such data leaks and improve the overall cyber resilience of the country and its organizations.
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