Saudi Aramco Sees Increased Number of Cyberattacks since Late 2019

Saudi Aramco has seen an increase in attempted cyber attacks since the final quarter of 2019 and has successfully repelled all of them so far, according to a Reuters report, which cited comments from an interview with chief information security officer Khalid al-Harbi.

“Overall there is definitely an increase in the attempts of (cyber) attacks, and we are very successful in preventing these attacks at the earliest stage possible,” Khalid al-Harbi told Reuters in a telephone interview. “The pattern of the (cyber) attacks is cyclical, and we are seeing that the magnitude is increasing, I would suspect that this will continue to be a trend,” he said.

Saudi officials are keeping close tabs on emerging cybersecurity threats that may be emanating from Iran, according to a report last month. Authorities detected a new destructive cyberattack suspected of coming from Iran on Dec. 29, Yahoo News reported.

Iran’s most notorious cyberattack was the Shamoon virus against Saudi Aramco in 2012, which destroyed more than 30,000 of Saudi Aramco’s computers.

Such a cyberattack, if not successfully repelled, could be costly for Aramco. Saudi Aramco “was forced to go offline for months until it could rebuild its IT infrastructure, ultimately costing one of the most valuable companies in the world hundreds of millions of dollars,” According to ReCode.

“To beat a network, we need to be a network,” al-Harbi told Reuters. “Cybersecurity is one of the top corporate risks we address in our enterprise risk management program and is a personal priority for me.”