Iran’s Key Petrochemical Complexes Attacked by Malicious Malware

Who needs an army on the ground when one can target its enemy with malware? This time, it’s Iran having their Petrochemical Complexes infected with malware.

A malicious malware has recently been discovered and eliminated by Iran from two of its important petrochemical complexes. It should be noted that only recently (last week to be precise) the world learned about Iran’s claims that the fires on its petrochemical complexes were caused by cyber-criminals.

The head of Iran’s civil defense Mr. Gholamreza Jalali told Reuters on Saturday that the malware was discovered during “periodical inspection of petrochemical units,” and it was actually a “type of industrial malware.” Naturally, the defense ministry took matters into own hands and necessary measures were taken. The revelation was made when Jalali was having a conversation with IRNA, Iran’s state news agency.

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Jalali also took this opportunity to clarify the rumors about the recent fires at Iran’s petrochemical plants as well. He stated that the malware was identified at two plants but it was found to be inactive and wasn’t responsible in any way for the fires.

Nonetheless, the news isn’t surprising at all since Iran has been expecting cyber attacks from foreign states including the United States and Israel. In 2009 and 2010, the USA and Israel secretly attacked Iranian nuclear program through the infamous Stuxnet virus, which penetrated into its computer systems and damaged Iran’s uranium enriched centrifuges.

The recent wave of cyber-attacks is now being investigated by the National Cyberspace Council. The council will also analyze the probability of last week’s fires being triggered by cyber-criminals.

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For your information, a number of Iranian petrochemical facilities have endured fires such as the Bu Ali Sina refinery complex last month. But, Jalali has ruled out the likelihood of these recent fires being a result of a cyber-attack or malware. Iran’s oil minister has also tried to set the rumor mills at rest by stating that most of the fires at the petrochemical plants were caused by the reduction of health and safety inspection budgets by privatized petrochemical firms.

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