Iran’s Oil Platforms Targeted by Cyber Attacks – Report

Iran’s oil platforms have been targeted by cyber attack by Israel and other nations but their operations have not been affected, an Iranian state oil official was quoted as saying Monday.

The renewed security threats come after similar attacks on the country’s nuclear and hydrocarbon sector and add to mounting challenges to Iran’s oil industry as it faces declining production and exports under escalating sanctions.

The semi-official Mehr news agency quoted Mohammad Reza Golshani, head of information technology at the Iranian Offshore Oil Co., as saying there has been “a new cyber attack on the information system of offshore facilities in the last few weeks.”

He said “an examination of the attacks showed they had been planned by the Zionist regime [Israel] and several other countries.”

But he added “the separation of Intranet [internal] networks and the main [Internet] network meant the offshore oil company remains secure.”

In April, Iran’s oil sector wrestled earlier with alleged cyberattacks that began at the Oil Ministry and spread to other industries.

The country’s nuclear industry had already been hit by a virus in 2010 known as Stuxnet, which targeted centrifuges, in what was widely believed to be an act of foreign sabotage aimed at slowing Tehran’s progress toward building a nuclear weapon–although Iran denies it has such a goal.

Press reports have said Israel and the U.S. were behind the cyberattacks though neither have confirmed this.

-By Benoit Faucon. (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.